A Santa Ana woman accused of abandoning her 10-month-old daughter by the side of the road said she left the child because the father would not support the baby, police said Thursday.
Lori Carlson, 22, told police that she was an unemployed, chronic alcoholic who could not afford to provide for her two daughters. She said the father, Wayne M. Jefferds, 30, of Corona, did not support them and that he watched her leave the baby alongside the Pacific Coast Highway on Tuesday evening and did nothing to intervene.
Jefferds denied to police that he was present, adding that he contributes support money and that Carlson's parents, with whom she lives, also provide financial aid.
Carlson was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attempted murder, child endangerment and child desertion, according to Detective Joe Marino of the Oxnard Police Department. She was being held in the Main Jail in Ventura in lieu of $250,000 bail and was scheduled to be arraigned today.
According to police, Carlson and Jefferds checked into a room at the Oxnard Lodge Motel Tuesday afternoon with their baby, Brittany, and Carlson's 3-year-old daughter Alicia.
Several hours later, the two began arguing loudly over financial support for the baby, police said. Carlson threatened to abandon the baby, Jefferds told police, but he said he did not take her seriously.
Jefferds got into his car, but Carlson put the children in a second car and followed, Marino said.
As they drove south on the Pacific Coast Highway, the two continued yelling at each other, Marino said.
Carlson told police that when she stopped on the highway, Jefferds also pulled over and watched her leave the baby, according to Marino. Jefferds said he saw her pull over but did not stop and did not see her abandon the baby, Marino said.
Jesus Garcia, 33, of Oxnard was driving behind Carlson and stopped to check the bundle on the roadside. He took the baby, who was not injured, to his home and called police.
Garcia gave police a detailed description of Carlson's car, which was traced to the motel, where the woman was arrested and the 2-year-old was found unharmed.
The children were placed in the custody of the Ventura County Public Social Services Agency, but Jefferds has asked for custody of them, Marino said.