By: Christine Souders
A 3 week old baby girl was found Thursday night, after disappearing for nearly 12 hours. The infant's mother, Kendra Meaker, 19, is accused of leaving 3 week old Mia Graci Thomson in a ditch outside Toulon, IL. Thursday morning, family and friends watched as Meaker was charged in Stark County Court for putting her baby's life in danger.
Police said the infant may not be alive if it wasn't for a group of volunteers. Russell and Mary-Jo Van Dran joined the search team to find little Mia Thursday afternoon, and they're thankful they found her when they did. "I think 20 minutes later, it would have been a different outcome," said Mary-Jo Van Dran who, along with her husband Russell found Baby Mia just before dark.
"We had the windows open, as soon as we stop the truck, we heard the baby cry," said The Van Dran's. They were driving along a rural road off HWY 17, checking the culverts, and found Mia about 10 feet from the shoulder of the road.
"She was in the grass probably a foot tall, and her hands were so tangled in the grass, I couldn't pick her up," said Mary-Jo.
The couple immediately called police and Mia was taken to the hospital. The 3 week old baby girl was reported missing around 8 Thursday morning, sparking an Amber Alert. Mia's mother Kendra Meaker told police her baby had been abducted from her car at the post office. But Thursday night the Stark County Sheriff told us Meaker confessed to the FBI, she'd left her baby in a ditch.
Friday morning, Meaker was in court for the first time. Meaker is being charged with obstruction of justice and child endangerment. She could face up to four years if convicted.
Despite everything, the Van Dran's said they are just glad to have helped, "We're just happy she's alive."