Mom who allegedly killed baby found at TIA | News
Lake Wales, Florida -- A Polk County Woman who suffers from Postpartum Depression is in custody tonight accused of killing her 1-year old son.
Officials say 32-year-old Neha Patel disappeared with her son Thursday morning and was reported missing later in the day. However, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says Patel did show up briefly at her South Lakeland home early Friday confessing to her husband that she had killed the couple's son.
After leaving the son's body with the father, Rasesh Patel, authorities say Neha took off. She was eventually located Friday afternoon in a parking garage at Tampa International Airport.
Neha has been booked into the Hillsborough County jail but will eventually be transferred to Polk County, where Judd says she will face a charge of first degree murder.
While she was missing, officials were concerned for Neha's safety, saying she had recently threatened to commit suicide.
Rasesh Patel did not talk with reporters Friday afternoon as he left the couple's Colonel Ford Drive home. However neighbors did express disbelief by what Neha Patel is accused of doing.
"You can't imagine how anyone could be in a position where they would feel so distraught that they would do something like that," Doug Crabtree told reporters.
"As a mom, I couldn't do harm to either one of my kids," added Jaimie Hicks, who lives a few doors down from the Patels.
Officials say Neha Patel had been taking medication for PPD, but was not doing so regularly.
Experts say more than one in 10 women suffer from PPD noting it can last a year or longer following the birth of a child.
"It affects from 10-15% of women and it is something that is treatable and certainly is something that (if) a woman is having any thoughts of harming themselves or their baby they should seek help immediately," said Polk County Health Department spokesperson Pam Crain.
Crain adds PPD symptoms include sadness, fatigue, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, mood swings and crying episodes.
Officials also say while Neha Patel had been threatening to commit suicide, she never talked about harming her son, who was born last year four months prematurely.
Judd says the cause of death for the couple's son was significant trauma to the body.