CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland Police have filed a criminal charge of falsification against a woman who’d claimed she found a baby abandoned, and the FOX 8 I TEAM tracked her down to uncover the truth.
That charge has been filed against Brieaina Cook.
Sunday, she called Cuyahoga County social workers and Cleveland Police. She said she found a baby crying, alone, on the steps of a vacant building, and she knew nothing about the child. That set off a frantic search for the mother.
Now investigators say Cook was supposed to be babysitting the child. And Cook admitted that by phone to the I TEAM.
Cook said, "She's a horrible mom." She added, “The girl wanted me to watch her daughter. I didn't want to. She came and dropped her off at the corner of 78th. She started texting my phone, but I didn't know she was gonna leave no baby on no corner."
The I TEAM asked Cook why she didn’t just tell the truth from the start? She answered, "’Cause I was scared of what I'm going through. I'm not supposed to have babies around." Cook clarified that only by saying she’s having her own issues with social workers at the Department of Children and Family Services.
Investigators sensed something odd from the start. They had no report of anyone missing a baby, and police pointed out Cook waited hours before calling for help.
At a court hearing Tuesday, a judge ordered the baby kept in foster care for now. The mother did not attend. She was sitting in jail on an unrelated old warrant.
The falsification charge against Cook is a misdemeanor. She’ll go to court later.
On the phone, she couldn’t understand how she could face a charge. She said, "That's not my child; I was taking care of the little girl."