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Crews drain Orlando pond in search for missing newborn

Susan Richardson remains jailed on child neglect charges

ORLANDO, Fla. – Crews used two large pumps to drain a retention pond Saturday in the search for a missing newborn.

The Orange County sheriff's dive team searched a pond near Dardanelle Drive and Silver Star Road on Friday, which is about a block from the Willow Bend Apartments, where authorities said the girl may have been born.

Crews said they could be out at the pond until early evening draining the water. If the water is all gone, they said they'll come back Sunday to search it.

The child's mother, Susan Richardson, 30, remains jailed on aggravated child neglect charges.

The dive team conducted a grid search of the pond, walking in a line and feeling for anything unusual underneath them.

News 6 watched as they pulled out garbage, shoes and pieces of a tree.

There was no sign of the child now known as "Baby Willow."

"I'm praying that the baby is not in this lake," said Robin Roundtree, who came to watch the search.

Roundtree told News 6 she spoke with Richardson shortly before she gave birth.

She said Richardson was panhandling at the convenience store right next to the pond.

"I actually told her when she had the baby bring the baby to me, and then she asked me for a dollar, and then, she just left," she said.

City work crews on Thursday flushed sewer lines and sent cameras down the lines as part of their search.

Richardson told investigators that she gave birth to the baby Monday morning, then "discarded" the child.

Police said on Wednesday that they towed away dumpsters and wrapped them in crime scene tape to take a closer look at them to make sure investigators didn't miss anything. The dumpsters were back in place Thursday morning, with crime scene tape still hanging from them.

The child's mother made her first appearance from the Orange County Jail on Wednesday, where she appeared drowsy, prompting the judge to ask her if she was awake.

Police are asking the public for help, requesting that anyone who may have seen Richardson on Monday between 10 a.m. and noon to call authorities.

Watch News 6 for more on this story.


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