Deputies hear baby crying in trunk during traffic stop

Breona Watkins arrested on child abuse, other charges

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A woman was arrested Tuesday after deputies pulled her over and found her baby in the trunk of a car.

Broward Sheriff's Office deputies said Breona Watkins, 19, passed her 5-month-old baby to the back seat and a 14-year-old passenger placed the boy in the trunk through an opening in the back seat.

According to the arrest report, the deputy pulled Watkins over because of a broken headline and for stopping at an intersection while other vehicles were forced to go around her car.

The deputy said Watkins did not stop her car right away. When she did, she gave the deputy a fake name, and later admitted that she did so because she did not have a valid driver's license.

During the course of the traffic stop, deputies opened Watkins' trunk after hearing what sounded like a baby crying.

The infant was found lying on top of several dangerous items, including a large pair of bush-cutting shears, a rusted tire iron and a rusted metal hanger. A used gas can and fuel pump were also found in the trunk.

Deputies said the baby had been in the trunk for about 15 minutes, and at no time did Watkins or the passenger tell deputies that the baby was there.

According to the arrest report, after the baby was found, Watkins told deputies she ordered the 14-year-old boy to put the baby in the trunk, because she was scared she would be ticketed since he was sitting on the boy's lap and not in a car seat.

Watkins was being held at the main Broward County jail on seven charges, including child abuse. Her bond was set at $7,000.

Wakins' grandmother told Local 10 News that the incident was just a big mistake.

"She got frightened and she did what any child would do, because she is still a child," said Laura Richardson. "She is a good mother, but she is still young and she just made a mistake."

The baby was in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, and is expected to be given to Watkins' grandmother pending a home study.

DCF officials said Watkins will have supervised visits if a guardian ad litem signs off on that decision.  

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