Mother who left baby will not serve in prison

by: Greg Suskin Updated:


A mother accused of leaving her baby outside overnight in a bush will not serve any time in prison.

On Wednesday, 20-year-old Kelly Cameron of Rock Hill, was sentenced to three years' probation, after pleading guilty to a unlawful conduct toward a child.

"I'm just so glad she's coming home," said Cameron's grandmother, Sherry Cameron, who raised her and is also taking care of her older son.

On Aug. 2, neighbors on Furr Street heard a child screaming between 2 and 3 a.m. They followed the noise and found an 11-month-old boy in a stroller outside his grandmother's home.

At that time, the neighbors who found the baby told  Channel 9 that the stroller was surrounded by branches, as though it had been pushed into the bush.

Sherry Cameron said she has loud box fans in many of her windows, and did not hear the little boy crying. She was awakened when Rock Hill police officers knocked on her door, and shone flashlights into her windows.

In court Wednesday, Cameron admitted she left her son to go and "mess around" with her boyfriend, Joshua Haskett. Haskett was told earlier in the day he was not allowed into the house where Cameron was staying. According to police, her grandmother believed he was a bad influence on her.

Cameron said the two came back several times to check on the baby. However, when police arrived, Cameron got scared and left again. She didn't return home for nearly five hours.

Channel 9 asked Haskett, who was with her all night, why she left her baby outside in the dark.

"I have no idea," he said. "She wasn't herself. Earlier in the day we were kicked out of the house we were living in. She was under a lot of stress. She was very worried about where we were going to stay."

Cameron's attorney Phil Smith told the court that Cameron was expelled from high school during her freshman year for skipping classes, then became pregnant at 16.

It was her younger child that she left outside in the stroller. Haskett, who's not the father of either child, said he believes the month she spent in jail will have an impact.

"I think jail scared her, and made her realize what she'd done wrong," he said.

The 11-month-old is still in DSS custody.

Sherry Cameron is glad her granddaughter was given another chance.

"I know she's gonna change," she said. "She's already promised she wants her kids back. She wants to be with them."

Prosecutors had asked for a one-year cap on a possible prison sentence because Cameron has no prior criminal record. The judge called what she did a "crime of immaturity," and told her to be a better example to her children or they could make the same mistakes she has.

She was also ordered to complete an ongoing DSS plan, which includes random drug and alcohol testing, and counseling. She must also hold a job and obtain her GED.