Despite pleas for the safety of a 3-month-old boy tossed in a neighborhood lake by his mother, a Broward judge allowed the infant to remain in his father’s custody.
At a shelter hearing on Thursday, Broward Circuit Judge Susan Lebow found no probable cause to remove the baby from the care of his father, Conlan Armour. The infant, Cayden Armour, remains in critical condition at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.
Armour’s wife, Inakesha Armour — who told police she was suffering from postpartum depression — threw the child in a lake in the Riviera Isles neighborhood on Tuesday after telling her mother she was going to visit a neighbor. She later told Miramar police that she left her son in the lake for about six minutes, then retrieved him as he was turning blue.
It was the second time in months that the mother tried to kill her son. When Cayden was about 2 months old, the mother told police, she gave the baby adult cough syrup and tried to smother him with a pillow.
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Conlan Armour discovered his son and transported him to the emergency room.
Inakesha Armour told police she “had thought about doing harm” to her son on a daily basis.
Her family, from Turks and Caicos, said that they knew about her problems and that she had previously sought treatment. The child’s grandmother, who was in the home, did not believe in the medications her daughter was taking for postpartum depression, said Nicole Moore, a Legal Services Attorney with the Office of the Attorney General.
The cough syrup incident raised questions at Thursday’s court hearing concerning the father’s ability to take care of his son.
The state felt that the father did not do enough to protect the child, said Paige Patterson-Hughes, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children & Families.
But Lebow said the father did not pose a threat to the child. The father didn’t leave the mother in the home alone with the child, she said.
During both incidents, Inakesha Armour’s mother was in the home, police said.
A Guardian Ad Litem was appointed to the child at the hearing.
The near-drowning occurred while Conlan Armour was at work. Armour told the court an aunt would be able to take care of his son in the meantime.
The mother now faces two counts of attempted murder and is being held without bail in the Broward County Jail. She is currently under suicide watch.
On Thursday, the handcuffed mother entered the courtroom dressed in prison scrubs. She smiled while looking at an album of family pictures.
Cayden is continuing to fight for his life and his father says his condition is improving at Joe DiMaggio.
Meanwhile, the woman who spotted Inakesha Armour and the baby on the side of the lake talked on Thursday about the scene that unfolded in front of her.
Maureen Brown said she was driving to the gym Tuesday after work when she spotted the unresponsive infant lying in the grass. She quickly stopped to help, thinking the baby was alone. Then she saw Inakesha Armour standing at a distance.
Brown, with 22 years of nursing experience, began administering CPR to the child. When the mother, who looked wet, ran over and asked to use her phone to call her husband, Brown said she responded with “ Is the baby, OK?” Armour then turned to her and said, “ I think I killed my baby.”
Brown said she checked to see whether Cayden was breathing and could not find a pulse.
“I wanted to do everything possible to save that child,” she said. “ I was asking God please let me do something to save this baby’s life.”
As Brown gave CPR to the baby, Armour did not help, according to the report.
Another passerby, Brian Jean, stopped to help. Inakesha Armour grabbed his cellphone and was overheard saying to her husband, “ I did it again, you need to get over here,” a police report said.
Her arraignment is set for July 28.
Miami Herald Staff Writer Carli Teproff contributed to this story.