Stealing Mom Jumps Into Water With Son: Cops

Mother robs WalMart with 5-year-old, jumps into waterway with him under arm

Police say a woman who stole DVDs from a Hallandale Beach WalMart fought with security guards then tried to make a desperate escape by jumping into the Intracoastal Waterway -- all while holding her 5-year-old son in her arms.

Deanna Headley, 23, is charged with robbery, battery, child abuse and attempting a felony which could cause death after she allegedly stole five DVDs from the WalMart at 2551 East Hallandale Beach Boulevard Tuesday afternoon.

Headley, who was with her sister and son, was seen by a security guard stuffing the DVDs into her purse, police said. When Headley left the store, she was approached by the guard who chased her as she bolted with her child under her arm across six lanes of congested traffic on Hallandale Beach Boulevard.

According to police, when the guard caught up to Headley, she struck him in the chest and ran into a nearby apartment building, running to the roof of the four-story building.

When Headley came down from the roof, she again hit the guard and took off on foot, police said. She ran to the waterway, where she jumped into water that was between 10 and 15 feet deep, with no way to get out and the child still under her arm, police said.

As she was fished out of the water, Headley told rescuers she couldn't swim and refused to hand over her child as she was rescued, police said.

Headley appeared in court Wednesday, where she was ordered held without bond.

"If not for the responding police units as well as the WalMart personnel pulling you from the waters of the Intracoastal Waterway, it's very likely both of you would have drowned," Judge John Hurley said during Wednesday's hearing. "And this was all over some DVDs from Wal-Mart."

It was not immediately clear whether she had an attorney.

There will be a child welfare custody hearing Wednesday afternoon. The Department of Children and Families is investigating the incident and said they have had prior incidents with this family, but didn't elaborate.

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