(KMOV) -- The woman arrested in Ellisville for abandoning her newborn baby boy last week faces two felony charges: abandonment, and endangerment. Even though she's been arrested, booked, and released, police still refuse to identify the woman, despite repeated requests from News 4.
“Why” is a very good question, because it seems anyone arrested for DUI or some other felony would find their face on the front page the same day. According to the Missouri Sunshine Law, incident reports, arrest reports and law enforcement agency daily logs are all open records. See RSMo 610.100.2 (“All incident and arrest reports shall be open records”) and 610.200, if you need more proof. When this was pointed out to Chief Thomas Felgate today, he corrected me – incorrectly – in an emailed response: “…the name does not have to be released until she is formally charged which would be when and if the PA issues a warrant(s). (You have been reporting for some time and should know this.)”
So much for all that schooling. The 19-year-old woman in question already had an attorney when police showed up in her hospital room last Friday, which may play a role in this reticence. Regardless, it took a letter from our own attorney here at KMOV to make the Ellisville Police follow the letter of the law, which is exactly what they are now doing – following the letter of the law. The Sunshine Law allows agencies 72 hours to comply. So even though the record is public, and no doubt sitting on the chief’s desk, they’re now refusing to release it for the full 72 hours.
I have all the respect in the world for law enforcement, but I am not the one who should be forced to remind them that you can’t make this stuff up as you go along. Stay tuned, and we’ll update you when the information is released.