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Woman's child abandonment conviction overturned in Santa Fe County case

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SANTA FE, New Mexico — An appellate court ruling says it's not a crime under New Mexico's child abandonment law to put a 2-year-old child to bed in a locked bedroom and ignore the child's cries during the night.

The state Court of Appeals overturned Jennifer Stephenson's child abandonment conviction in a Santa Fe County case.

She'd put her son to bed and went to sleep in her own room. During the night, he climbed onto a dresser which tipped over and pinned his legs.

Stephenson took the boy to a hospital in the morning after the father discovered the boy was pinned.

Doctors said the boy's injuries indicated he'd been pinned for hours and would have been screaming.

The appellate court said Tuesday it's not abandonment when a person means to return.

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