Mother of baby left in Austin dumpster appears in court for first time


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The mother accused of leaving her baby in a north Austin dumpster last October made her first appearance in court Thursday.

Althea Johnson, 27, had her bond cut in half from $60,000 to $30,000, but she will remain in jail for now. No date has been set for her next court hearing.

Johnson was arrested and identified by police two weeks after her newborn girl was found in a dumpster at the Mira Vista Apartments at 9601 Middle Fiskville Rd., near Rundberg Lane, on Oct. 25.

She was charged with abandoning a child after investigators found a trail of blood from the dumpster leading to one of the apartments. Police say Johnson admitted to putting her daughter in the dumpster after initially leaving her in the bushes.

“Althea Johnson knew that baby was alive, seeing her eyes open,” the arrest affidavit stated. “Despite having a working cell phone, Althea Johnson did not call 911 or anyone else.” The umbilical cord was still attached to the baby.

A man found the baby in the dumpster and alerted police and other residents. Court documents show the dumpster was going to be emptied that day.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said at the time, while the girl was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, she was out of the hospital and recovering in fair condition.

If convicted of the charges, Johnson faces up to 20 years in prison.

After the newborn was found, officials reminded parents that unharmed newborn babies can be brought to any hospital, fire station or emergency medical services (EMS) station in Texas without the fear of being prosecuted for abandonment or neglect. For more information on designated Safe Havens, visit the Department of Family and Protective Services website.

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