2 arrested after baby found abandoned in Alabama Walmart

Published 4:03 pm Friday, December 3, 2021

A woman who was seen pushing a shopping cart with a baby inside was arrested on drug charges after the child was found abandoned inside a Walmart store in Alabama, police said Friday, and the child’s mother also was taken into custody.

Melissa A. Smith, 37, of Tuscaloosa, was arrested on marijuana possession and other charges after store workers called authorities to report a 4-month-old girl was found alone in a cart in the store Thursday night, Assistant Chief Keith Carpenter of the Northport Police Department said.

Later, police said they had arrested the mother of the child, 37-year-old Bethany Joy Boothe of Northport, on an outstanding warrant for a traffic offense. Smith is an acquaintance of Boothe, and both women face additional charges in the child’s treatment, police said.

It wasn’t clear what Smith was doing with the baby or where Boothe was during the incident. Store workers were caring for the child, who appeared healthy, near the jewelry department when police arrived.

“We don’t believe it was an abduction but we don’t know the whole story yet,” Carpenter said.

The child was placed into custody of the Department of Human Resources, and Smith was jailed with bail set at $17,500, a police statement said.

Court records weren’t available to show whether Smith or Boothe had an attorney who could speak on their behalf.