Kidnapping suspect appears before judge

HOUSTON Raeshala Morris was arrested Friday, hours after she allegedly abducted Jakaila Brantley from the Mothecare day care center in southwest Houston.

Moris appeared before the judge this morning and had very little to say. She did acknowledge that she understood the court proceedings and the assistant district attorney says they have a videotaped confession.

Prosecutors described how on April 11, Morris was working at the Mother Care day care. As the children were sleeping, one of the employees used the restroom. At that time, prosecutors say, Morris took off with the child and left.

Morris' cousin's husband later spotted her with the child and called police. Police arrived to find Morris sitting on some stairs with the baby on her lap. Prosecutors also say she changed her clothing and her baby's clothing and gave police different names when they asked for identification.

Morris doesn't have a criminal history, but her family members say she's been diagnosed with schizophrenia and depression and has also suffered the effects of losing her own child to CPS on allegations of neglect.

"She really misses her child more than anything," said Chareckas Cleaver, Morris' cousin. "She went through, where she probably thought that baby was hers, thinking that, her mind snapped. She hasn't been on her medication since March."

"It's really hard for me to tell," said defense attorney Jim Leitner. "She seems to understand, but she's not normal."

"What makes you say that," we asked.

"I've seen a lot of normal people over the last 30 years and talking to her, you can tell something's wrong with her."

"The standard for any sort of insanity claim is that she didn't know that what she was doing was wrong," said prosecutor Beth Shipley. "I'm going to go through my case, my report, anything from CPS that's going to help me prove that she knew what she was doing was wrong."

Leitner requested and was granted a mental evaluation for his client. Under the current kidnapping charge, if convicted, Morris faces between two and 10 years behind bars, along with a fine and/or probation if it's confirmed she's never been convicted of a felony.

Bond is now set at $50,000

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