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03/26/04 - Athens

Mother Charged With Infant's Murder

Twenty-year-old Tiaka Barron of Athens is charged with capital murder of her newborn son. She is now in the Henderson County Jail on a $1-million bond. Records there show she is married and was a member of the wait staff at the Applebee's Grill and Bar on Hwy 31.

On Wednesday morning, a lawn care worker doing landscaping for Applebee's told police he noticed a foul smell, which led him to an area behind the restaurant. It was there that he found the infant's body with its umbilical cord still attached.

Athens police then canvassed the area, questioning people at nearby businesses and homes. Information they gathered and tips from callers all pointed to Barron, who, upon questioning, gave police probable cause to arrest her.

One person police gathered information from was Angel Knight, who works at the Sears appliance store across the street from where the infant's body was found. Knight says, a few weeks ago, she saw a pregnant woman who resembles Barron walking up and down the sidewalk outside the store. Other Sears employees say they also recognize Barron.

"We were all pretty shocked, especially, you know, I have two children of my own," Knight, a sales representative, said. "And there's a million things that you could do besides leave it behind a fence."

The state's Baby Moses Law allows parents to leave an unwanted baby less than 60 days old at any hospital or fire station, and the parents would not be charged.

"But in this case, it was not done," Sgt.Charles Gurley, a detective with the Athens Police Dept., said. "We hope to go to trial and have true justice to come to this child."

Police are waiting for autopsy results to determine more information about the infant. Meanwhile, police still need your help in tracking down other possible suspects, who may have been accomplices to Barron. If you have any information, you're asked to call the Athens Police Dept.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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