Melissa Kelley has been charged with unlawful desertion of a child and child neglect after allegedly abandoning the baby

By Steve Helling
November 20, 2020 06:51 PM
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Credit: WKMG News 6 ClickOrlando

A Florida woman was arrested on Sunday after she allegedly abandoned her baby on a woman's front porch, saying she could no longer care for him.

Melissa Kelley, 33, allegedly rang a doorbell in Deltona, Florida. When Patricia Tillman answered the door, Kelley allegedly put her 3-month-old baby boy, who was in a car seat, at the woman's feet and asked her to take care of him, according to the Daytona Beach News Journal.

Police say that Kelley ran off as the woman pleaded with her not to abandon her baby. The entire interaction was reportedly caught on Tillman's doorbell video.

"Melissa advised Patricia to not touch due to the infant being infected with scabies," says a police report obtained by Fox 35. "Melissa then fled the area. Patricia informed Deputy Campbell the infant was abandoned with a soiled diaper, a half can of powdered baby formula, an empty baby bottle and two soiled baby towels."

Lake County Sheriff's deputies later found Kelley and arrested her. PEOPLE confirms that she has been charged with unlawful desertion of a child and child neglect. She is being held on $2,000 bond.

Although she says she had never seen Kelley before, Patricia Tillman later found out her daughter was dating the baby's father.

According to the police report also obtained by the Daytona Beach News Journal, Tillman then called her daughter’s boyfriend, 28-year-old Clayton Zinck. After she was unable to reach him, she reached out to Zinck’s parents, who allegedly said they would not pick up the child and said they would not wake a sleeping Zinck, according to he Daytona Beach News Journal, citing police deputies.

Credit: Lake County Jail

Sheriff's investigators reportedly say that Zinck had informed Kelley that he did not want to remain in a relationship with her. According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, the police report stated that she texted family members, "please don't make me throw this baby in the trash." She also allegedly sent texts that suggested she was suicidal.

The Department of Children and Families has taken custody of the infant. He was treated at a nearby hospital for a possible infection of scabies, which is an infestation of the skin by human itch mites.

Kelley has not yet entered a plea. Court records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on her behalf.