Los Angeles

Suspected Mother of Abandoned Child Charged

A 31-year-old Walnut Creek woman who allegedly abandoned her 6-year-old, non-communicative son at Union Station on the Fourth of July pleaded not guilty Monday to felony child endangerment.

Dava Denise Webster appeared to be still wearing the clothes she was arrested in Thursday when she appeared in a downtown courtroom Monday afternoon.

Webster's defense attorney asked the judge to prohibit cameras in the courtroom, arguing that her client's right to a fair trial could be hurt by media coverage the attorney called "salacious" and "just a TMZ moment."

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gustavo Sztraicher overruled that request, saying he saw no particular prejudice that would be caused by allowing cameras to record the arraignment.

The judge issued a protective order, telling Webster to stay away from and not contact the boy, and set July 20 for a preliminary hearing to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Webster is accused of abandoning her son, who was spotted by witnesses and a security guard.

After a wave of media coverage seeking to identify the boy, someone who recognized the child came forward and he was reunited with family. The boy was initially believed to be deaf and possibly autistic, and his inability to communicate hampered the investigation into how he ended up unattended and who had left him at the station, according to LAPD Sgt. Hector Guzman.

Webster was arrested when she returned to Union Station and is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. She is facing up to six years in prison if convicted as charged, prosecutors said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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