NEW BRITAIN — A 30-year-old woman hid her 8-month-old child in a car with missing windows during frigid temperatures last week in an effort to scare the baby’s father into coming home, police said.
Leah Nichols, of 15 Lawlor St., falsely claimed an intruder had knocked her unconscious and taken the baby, police said.
She was arrested Friday after the incident and was charged with criminal attempt to commit first-degree manslaughter, risk of injury to a minor and first-degree falsely reporting an incident.
She is in custody on a $200,000 bond. Her case is pending in Superior Court in New Britain.
Temperatures on Thursday into Friday were in the teens and, with the wind chill factor, into the single digits, police said. Police estimate that Nichols’ baby was left alone in the vehicle for 55 minutes, wearing a onsie and wrapped in a thin blanket.
The incident was reported to the Department of Children and Families. The agency has opened its own investigation.
Police said the baby’s father left the house after an argument with Nichols. She tried getting him to return by telling him in a text message that someone had smashed out the windows of her car, police said.
Nichols also reported the alleged incident to police. But when officers knocked on her door around midnight, no one answered the door.
Nichols later sent the baby’s father another text message around 2 a.m. Friday saying an intruder forced his way into the house and struck her in the head, causing her to lose consciousness. When she regained consciousness, the baby was gone, police said.
Nichols and the baby’s father both reported the break-in and abduction to police. But Nichols’ demeanor and the scene didn’t support her story, police said.
“We were quickly able to break down her story,” said police Capt. Thomas Steck.
Nichols eventually admitted that there had been no intruder, no assault and no abduction. She had placed the baby in the back seat of the car, which had three of four windows smashed out, police said.
By Hilda Munoz, Hartford Courant