Police arrest mom of baby found in box

PHILADELPHIA - February 15, 2012

After countless hours of detective work by the Special Victims Unit, the woman believed to be the mother of baby Noel was captured in an abandoned row home in North Philadelphia.

33–year-old Patricia "Dina" Crawley was arrested on the 2700 block of Croskey Street Wednesday.

She was finally captured following an intense investigation after scientists in the police DNA lab were able to link Crawley to "Baby Noel" who was found in a cardboard box just days before Christmas.

She was discovered by two workers in Strawberry Mansion who were cleaning the street on 27th near Cumberland around 10:00am on December 21st.

The workers were about to discard the box in the trash when they heard a baby crying inside. The baby was just hours old with the umbilical cord still attached.

"I can't get into the head of the individual. I guess what I do observe is this is a 33-year-old woman; this was not a teenager," Philadelphia Police Captain John Darby said during a news conference last week.

Since DNA evidence linked Crawley to the baby last week, Detectives worked day and night to get information on her whereabouts.

Last month after a number of tip calls, investigators were able to identify Crawley as a potential suspect, and on January 4th, they found her in the Frankford section and brought her in for questioning.

At the time, they did not have enough to hold her and had to let her go. DNA evidence later confirmed her connection to the baby.

"We had her under our roof in here. It was an opportunity at that particular time to kind of straighten things out, to take possession of that baby and let us know, that didn't happen," Darby said.

Wednesday, police tracked her down to the 2700 block of North Croskey where they say she was hiding out in an abandoned house. Neighbors and merchants were shocked.

"I would have never guess they would have caught her today, definitely not put her on the street here in North Philadelphia," said Kemi Valogun.

"I mean looking at her, never ever saw her before, and I'm from around here. I never saw her before," said Jean Warfield.

"We all heard about the baby, beautiful baby, but never would have guessed that she would have abandoned it other than a fire house or hospital or place of the sort, definitely not in a box," said Valogun.

Authorities say Crawley was arrested without incident.

"As part of the charging process, doctors were consulted multiple times and in fact this baby was very much in danger of dying out there just before Christmas, in a box left on the street in cold temperatures," Darby said.

She has two other children but they lived with their fathers. She also has a long criminal history which includes drug arrests.

That history will now include charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangering another person, and endangering the welfare of a child.

The Department of Human Services tells Action News, Noel is healthy and with a foster family.

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