by Jonathan Cribbs
As she sat on her front porch Friday afternoon looking at her front lawn, 61-year-old Anni Harris couldn’t really fathom what had happened to her neighbor, Landis Stewart-Moore.
Stewart-Moore, 19, had been arrested a day earlier for walking outside into the driving rain with his just-born infant and placing the baby in a storm drain before abandoning it several yards away from his south DeKalb County home, according to DeKalb police.
Harris remembered Stewart-Moore, the boy, traipsing across her front yard on Grand Pines Drive on his way home from school. She remembered yelling at him. She remembered him politely responding, “Yes, ma’am,” and then thinking maybe he was alright after all.
“I rolled in the car with him and his momma, and we had a good time, just laughing and talking,” Harris said on the verge of tears. “He was very amenable. I couldn’t believe it. … He wasn’t the type of child to act like that.”
Nonetheless, Stewart-Moore and his girlfriend, Sinead A. Harrison, are in jail. DeKalb County police found Harrison and Stewart-Moore’s child inside the drain early Thursday morning, alive and breathing. The baby, however, is now dead. Autopsy results are pending.
Harrison arrived at DeKalb Medical Center’s Hillandale facility in Lithonia early Thursday morning, saying she had just delivered a baby and left it in a trash container at a Shell gas station on Wesley Chapel Road, police spokeswoman Mekka Parish said. Police officers searched for the baby at the gas station and found nothing at about 3 a.m.
Harrison eventually directed police to Stewart-Moore, who told police the baby had been delivered inside his home on the 3800 block of Grand Pines Drive. The baby had been inside the story drain for several hours when police found him.
“He was found alive and breathing on his own,” Parish said. He was in stable condition Thursday.
Now, Harrison and Stewart-Moore may face more severe charges. Both had been charged with cruelty to a child in the first degree.
The pair may attend a preliminary hearing at 9 p.m. Friday Sept. 18, though that could change depending on detectives’ case loads, Parish said.
Harris, sitting among two of Stewart-Moore’s friends, said she thinks he needs to stay in jail. Assante Head, 19, who attended Southwest DeKalb High School with Stewart-Moore, shook his head.
“This is in God’s hands,” he said.