(HOUSTON) — A woman who is facing child abandonment charges after she was seen on surveillance video leaving a 2-year-old boy on a stranger’s doorstep in the middle of the night in a suburb of Houston claims it was all a misunderstanding.
“I just feel destroyed,” Keairra Woods said in a recent telephone interview with ABC owned-and-operated station KTRK-TV in Houston.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday morning released the 23-second video, which was recorded the night before by a doorbell security camera outside a home in Spring, Texas, some 25 miles north of Houston. The shocking footage garnered nationwide attention as authorities asked for the public’s help in identifying the little boy and the adult who left him behind.
The video shows a woman carrying two bags and holding a toddler in the air by his arm as she runs toward the front door on Wednesday about 8:20 p.m. local time. When she reaches the front entrance, the woman puts the child down, repeatedly rings the doorbell and knocks several times.
She then drops the bags she was carrying, runs back to her parked vehicle and drives away, leaving the little boy behind.
Authorities received a 911 call that night from someone who said she went to answer a knock at her door and found an unidentified child standing there alone, according to the sheriff’s office. The little boy was not injured and “appears to be in good health,” the office said.
Child Protective Services took custody of the toddler and placed him in a foster home amid the ongoing investigation.
Authorities have since identified the toddler and the woman, who is not the child’s mother, but haven’t released their names.
In revealing that she is the woman in the footage, Woods told KTRK-TV there’s an explanation for what happened.
She said the child’s mother, who is her best friend’s aunt, asked her to drop him off at his father’s house but warned that the boy’s stepmother has a restraining order against the mother. Woods said she has never met the child’s father or stepmother, nor has she ever visited their home.
So she was relying on GPS and directions from the mother, who she said was on the phone with her at the time, to find the correct house, Woods told the station.
“I followed the GPS. Mind you, I’m still on the phone with her, so by the time I get to the house, I say, ‘Well I just pulled up to the house.’ She said, ‘Okay, get out the car, get his bag and go to the door,'” Woods said in the interview Friday.
Woods said the mother should have known it was the wrong residence because she described to her the various cars parked in the driveway.
“By the time I get to the door, I ring the doorbell. I still have him in my hand. I say, ‘It’s like five cars out here, a red car, a black car, and a white car, and it’s like two rows of cars.’ She said ‘Okay,'” Woods told the station. “That should have let you know I was at the wrong house then because you know your baby daddy don’t drive so many cars.
“So I ring the doorbell, the lady walks like halfway to the door. That’s when I took off running. And the only reason I took off running was because it was chilly outside and I didn’t have no sweater on, as you can see in the video,” Woods continued, adding that she was also avoiding interaction with the child’s stepmother, who she thought was coming to answer the door.
“I never ran off and just left him there without even seeing if somebody came to the door. The woman was halfway to the door,” she said. “At the end of the day … it’s really the mother’s fault.”
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond Saturday to ABC News’ request for comment on Woods’ remarks.
KTRK-TV also interviewed the homeowner of the residence where Woods dropped off the boy, and she corroborated the clothing that Woods said she saw her wearing through the front window as she was coming to answer the door. But the homeowner said Woods ran off so fast that she didn’t get a good look at her.
Woods could potentially be charged with child abandonment, which is a felony of the third degree in Texas.
“The female in the video then left the location without verifying anyone was home or who she was releasing the child to, which placed the child in great danger,” Lt. Scott Spencer of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office told reporters at a press conference Thursday.
Authorities determined that the boy’s father lives next door to the house where his son was dropped off after he saw the video and “immediately recognized the child as his son,” Spencer said.
Investigators learned the father had received a text from the child’s mother, who was in the hospital at the time. The text said a friend would bring the toddler to his house on Wednesday in the early afternoon. When that didn’t happen, the father assumed the mother’s plans had changed and he left his residence for the evening, according to Spencer.
Child Protective Services will ultimately decide who will have custody of the child.
“Right now, we are ecstatic that the child’s father has been found and detectives are working with Child Protective Services to reunite the child with the father and family,” Spencer told reporters Thursday.
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