A Bartow County baby whose abduction and safe return captured metro Atlanta’s attention earlier this week, is now in the custody of the Division of Family and Child Services with his mother’s consent.
Kristen Howard, the mother of William Kaidyn Stover, agreed to leave her 8-month-old with DFCS after admitting during a juvenile court hearing Friday that she used drugs with Samantha Barrett, the woman accused of taking her son.
“(Howard) agreed that there was probable cause to believe that the child is deprived in her care based on her drug use,” Bartow County Judge Velma C. Tilley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “She said she was under the influence of drugs that night.”
Police say Barrett drove away with William on Tuesday night, and that he was in the back seat of a car during a collision the next day that ended a high-speed police chase that covered three counties. William was unharmed.
William was returned to his mother Wednesday. Later that evening, he was handed over to DFCS.
Now Howard could permanently lose her child.
“She said she was in fact using (drugs) while driving around with this woman,” Tilley said.
Tilley said Howard has identified family members who she would want to have custody of the baby.
Police records obtained by the AJC show that in December 2011 Howard, then 19, was charged with several offenses, including simple assault and family violence, on allegations she punched and kicked her 53-year-old great-aunt.
Barrett, who was arrested Wednesday after the chase and wreck, remains in the Henry County Jail on $20,000 bond. She faces charges of felony child cruelty, felony eluding police, reckless driving and driving on a suspended license.
She also faces charges in Bartow County that include felony kidnapping and auto theft. She was on probation in Cobb County for possession of stolen Oxycodone pain medication, court and jail records show.
A custody hearing for William is scheduled with DFCS officials for 10 a.m. Aug. 29 in Tilley’s courtroom in Cartersville.