Tennessee mother, 19, who put her 8-month-old baby in an unused freezer gets two years probation

A young Tennessee mother was sentenced to two years’ probation after putting her 8-month-old baby in a freezer at the back of a house. 

Brittany Smith, 19, was facing felony charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect. 

On January 2, witnesses said that they saw Smith place the baby into an unused freezer in the backyard of a house and closed the lid.

Smith was was seen carrying a baby in the backyard of a residence on Poplar Hill Drive in Johnson City. 

Deborah Presnell, who lives at 115 Poplar Hill Drive, testified that she saw a woman who was holding a baby in her backyard at around 3.30 pm on January 2.

Presnell said her son and grandson went out to investigate and the woman was gone, Johnson City Press reported. They reportedly told police that she appeared to be under the influence.

They looked around and found the 8-month-old baby in an old freezer, which wasn’t being used, and the woman was in their home’s crawl space. 

There was about an inch of standing water in the freezer. Thankfully the baby survived the incident, according to WJHL.  

They took the woman, who they later discovered was Brittany Smith, and the baby inside where they she told them she wanted to leave the child with them. 

‘I asked her, “You want to leave the baby here?” and she said, “Yes.”‘  I said, “You’re gonna be back now, aren’t you?”,  she said, ‘Yes.’”

Presnell said she and her family did not call police at first because of the state’s good Samaritan law. 

Smith later returned at 4 am and Presnell said they convinced her to call her mother, which she agreed to do.   

‘My son stated that baby wasn’t going nowhere. Either the grandma’s gotta be here or the cops are going to be here. One or the other,’ she testified.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office was called to the scene. Smith was later arrested and the child was placed in protective custody. 

Smith pleaded guilty of a reduced charge of child neglect only, instead of aggravated child abuse, and the judge gave her two years’ probation.


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