As Brittney Sierra entered a Broward court room Wednesday to learn whether she will have to give birth to her fourth child while in police custody, she mouthed the words “I love you” to her mom Renee Menendez.
Menendez, who was sitting in the back row, sobbed loudly.
“Don’t cry,” said Sierra, who returned to jail Tuesday after a good Samaritan who had offered to house the pregnant woman changed her mind.
A very pregnant Sierra listened as her attorney, Dohn Williams Jr., told a judge he needed more time to find housing for Sierra — who is facing child neglect charges after the tiny bones of her infant son were found buried in the backyard of her former rental home in January.
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After the brief hearing, Williams told the news media that a relative of Sierra’s father has agreed to house Sierra while her case is pending. He hasn’t been able to “vet” the relative yet but hopes to be back before the judge with a suitable option soon.
“I am hoping later this week, unless she is in the hospital giving birth,” he said. Sierra is nine months pregnant and due any day.
Sierra had been in jail since January when police learned that her infant son had been missing for 18 months. They grilled her and the boy’s father about Dontrell Melvin’s whereabouts and went digging in the back yard, where they found his remains in a shallow grave.
Both Sierra and Calvin Melvin, the father, were arrested. The father is still in jail.
Sierra remained in custody until Monday, when prosecutors reduced her charges from two counts of second-degree child neglect to two counts of third-degree child neglect. Judge Matthew Destry then dropped the Hallandale Beach woman’s bond from $100,000 to zero and released her under several conditions, among them that she stay with Yolande Georges, a woman who stepped forward to house Sierra. Sierra was to be fitted with a GPS monitor and be confined to Georges’ home.
Georges, a Creole speaker with limited English skills, withdrew her offer after learning from a Miami Herald reporter that Sierra faced child neglect charges.
After the original plan fell through, Sierra stayed briefly with her mom, but that did not conform with the judge’s order.
Sierra’s attorney, Williams, said he didn’t think the court would approve Menendez’s home as a suitable option, long-term, because “all of this occurred while she was living under her mother’s roof.”
He was right. The judge signed a warrant Tuesday revoking Sierra’s release.
Williams said mother and daughter hopped a bus and headed back to jail.
Sierra was taken to the hospital “because she was showing signs of labor,” Williams said. Wednesday, she was back in court.
Her mother, who blames the media for Georges changing her mind, refused after the hearing to talk with reporters.
Wherever the birth ultimately occurs, Williams expects the Department of Children & Families to take Sierra’s child. DCF already has her two surviving children.