The mother of a baby whose remains were found buried in a shallow pit behind a Hallandale Beach home was released from jail Monday night after a judge reduced her charges.
Brittney Sierra, 22, who is pregnant and due to give birth on Friday, walked out of the Broward County Main Jail in Fort Lauderdale holding her possessions in one hand just after 10 p.m.
Her mother Renee Menendez picked her up. They embraced in the lobby, but neither woman answered any questions as they left the jail.
Sierra was able to bond out on her own recognizance after the charges she faces were reduced from second-degree neglect/bodily harm to third-degree charges. She was ordered to wear an ankle bracelet.
Dontrell K. Melvin was about 6 months old when he was last seen alive in July 2011, according to a report from Broward County Medical Examiner Dr. Craig Mallak.
The baby's body was discovered in a shallow grave in the backyard of 106 Northwest 1st Avenue on Jan. 11 of this year, about 18 months after he was last seen.
His parents, Sierra and Calvin Melvin, are both facing charges in the case.
Authorities said Melvin and Sierra blamed each other in the boy’s disappearance and each provided officers an area to search.
According to the report, the boy's skeletal remains were found in a pit that was about 9-12 inches below the ground at the former home of Sierra and Melvin. Also found with the body were a blue, pink and brown floral patterned blanket, a white cotton and polyester piece of clothing, a diaper and a Buddha charm, the report said.
The child was less than 8 months old at the time of his death, which was ruled a homicide caused by "violence of undetermined means," the report said.
Melvin, 27, faces two charges of child neglect and three charges of providing false information to police during the investigation of the disappearance. Melvin remains in the Broward jail on bond.
Sierra is expected to stay with Yolande Georges, who heard about the case on TV and wanted to help.
"I have been contacted by a number of people and I pre-screened them myself. Most of them quite frankly were not suitable but then last week, Ms. Georges contacted me," said Sierra's attorney Dohn Williams.
But when a NBC 6 photojournalist visited Georges' home, Georges told him that she was not aware Sierra was expecting a baby and that her apartment is not large enough to accomodate another person. The Department of Children and Families is expected to take custody of the newborn.
According to the pretrial release agreement, Sierra must have permission from the court to leave Georges' apartment, except to go to the hospital.
Sierra's mother talked about her daughter earlier Monday.
"I want to be there. I want to feel the baby move inside her. I can't wait to hold and hug my daughter and just kiss her and never let her go," Menendez said.
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