A Hallandale Beach mother spent less than 24 hours under house arrest before being placed back in custody after the woman approved to be her caretaker decided not to take her in. Now 22-year-old Brittney Sierra is waiting for approval to stay with a relative of her father's. NBC 6's Diana Gonzalez spoke with Sierra's attorney Dohn Williams about the placement process.
Brittney Sierra appeared in court Wednesday morning after a woman approved to be her caretaker was no longer willing to take her in.
The pregnant 22-year-old is back in the custody of the Broward Sheriff's Office while her lawyer checks out living arrangements with a new caretaker, a relative of Sierra's father.
Sierra, whose baby's remains were found buried in a shallow pit behind her Hallandale home, was released Monday on her own recognizance after her charges were reduced from second-degree child neglect/bodily harm to third-degree charges.
The caretaker initially approved by the court, Yolande Georges, said she did not want Sierra in her home after she learned that she was pregnant. Sierra then went to her mother's home, but the judge had only approved of Sierra living with Georges, so she called for a hearing to find another caretaker. Sierra was placed in BSO custody in the meantime.
Her attorney, Dohn Williams, said he had already instructed Sierra to surrender when the judge issued a warrant for her arrest. She then went directly to the Pretrial Services office and they told Sierra to go to her mother Renee Menendez's house until the situation was sorted out, according to Williams. He said Sierra would have surrendered herself sooner, but transportation was a problem.
"Nobody had to go out and round her up," Williams said.
Sierra had been given an ankle bracelet before her release Monday. Her pretrial release agreement said she needed the court's permission to leave Georges' apartment, except to go to the hospital. She is due to give birth Friday.
Williams said he hopes to have Sierra out of jail and placed with a relative by the end of the week. If she gives birth before then, it will be at Broward Medical Center.
He said placing Sierra with Menendez is not an option.
"I didn't find that her mother was a suitable placement, because you've got to remember that the allegations that she is faced with occurred while she was living under her mother's roof, and I just wanted to avoid that particular situation," Williams said.
Dontrell Melvin was about 6 months old when he was last seen alive in July 2011, according to a report from the Broward County medical examiner. His body was discovered in a shallow grave in the backyard of 106 Northwest 1st Avenue on Jan. 11, 2013.
His father, Calvin Melvin, 27, also faces charges in the case - two charges of child neglect and three charges of providing false information to police during the investigation. He remains in custody in the Broward jail.
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