Shelia Crump

It was a family reunion of sorts.

The search for a mother and her 1-month-old daughter, born addicted to cocaine, ended late Friday, when police arrested Sheila Crump in Johnson City, Tenn., at her biological mother's home.

Crump had apparently not been in contact with her mother for more than 25 years. But police say her mother arranged for her to flee to Tennessee.

An endangered person advisory was issued Thursday for the baby, Vanessa Laureen Ochoa, when police first believed she was taken from a supervised residential treatment facility in Salt Lake City. Working with information Midvale police had already received on Crump, they issued advisories to local police agencies where her relatives were known to live.

"The child and mother are fine," said Johnson City Police Lt. Brain Rice. "The child appears to be in good health, but she needs a bath pretty bad."

Police received information that Crump had contacted a man at a bus station in Nashville asking for money. Going on that information, Midvale police asked police in Johnson City and Nashville to look for Crump at her mother's home.

"We sent the right agencies to the right place," said Midvale Police Sgt. John Salazar.

Crump was arrested at her mother's home. She was booked into the Washington County Jail in Tennessee for investigation of being a fugitive from justice. She is also being held on a charge of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, in lieu of $100,000 bond. The Tennessee Division of Child Services will care for Vanessa until the Utah Division of Child and Family Services can take possession of the child.

At the age of 2, Crump was removed from her own mother, Glenda Fair, for child neglect, Salazar said. Police believe that Glenda Fair, Crump's mother, purchased a bus ticket for Crump and her child from Salt Lake City to Nashville, after Crump contacted her mother fearing that child welfare workers planned to take her child from her.

The baby was born Aug. 3 in Salt Lake County, according to police. She was born addicted to cocaine because of her mother's drug use, Salazar said. On Aug. 4, a judge put the infant into protective custody.

DCFS worked with Crump to get a support system in place to try to allow bonding between the mother and child, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Sollis.

Crump got to the point about a week ago in which she and the baby were allowed a "trial home placement," meaning the infant could live with her mother full time in a supervised residential treatment facility. The two were living in Midvale.

About midnight Wednesday, the baby was suffering from medical problems. An ambulance took her and Crump to the emergency room of Primary Children's Medical Center. The two arrived at the hospital about 1 a.m., according to hospital spokeswoman Laura Winder.

The infant was treated like any other walk-in patient. Her medical condition was not related to her mother's previous substance-abuse problems, police said.

"It was a common childhood concern," Winder said.

The infant was discharged a little before 3:30 a.m. At that point, Salazar said, Crump was reportedly trying to call several people for a ride.

Investigators believe she went to the Taylorsville residence where she lived before she entered the treatment facility. She was seen there about 5:30 a.m. She did not return to the treatment facility and had not been seen since, Salazar said.

Salazar said there was no way for the hospital to know that Crump was only allowed to have the baby under supervised conditions.

"Primary was not aware of custodial situation," he said. "When Primary discharged the baby, they had no clue of the custody issue."

"To our staff, it was just a routine visit like a dozen others," added Winder. "We didn't have any information that there was anything else going on that we should be aware of."

Whether Crump should have been supervised when she went to the hospital was something detectives were looking into Friday, said Salazar. Interviews are planned at the treatment facility.

In addition to Crump's drug use while pregnant, police were concerned because the woman's parental rights to four other children had been terminated when she lived in Oklahoma, Salazar said. Three of her other children were removed in 2004, and her parental rights for her fourth child were terminated in Oklahoma in June of this year when the child fell out of a second-story window and suffered head trauma, according to Midvale police.

Salazar said the other children were put into protective custody based on allegations of drug use, abuse, neglect and reckless endangerment.

Those children are still in Oklahoma. Police believe Crump came to Utah because of a boyfriend, who is the father of the infant. He is believed to be working in either Oklahoma or Nebraska, Salazar said.


E-mail: cnorlen@desnews.com; preavy@desnews.com