Samantha Green, 23, was arrested and charged in the death of her 20-day-old son. Although Samantha claims she and the infant were kidnapped, authorities believe the California mother abandoned her son and staged her own assault.
Samantha and her son, Justice Rees, were reported missing on Monday, February 23. The following day, the young mother was found stumbling out of a swamp. According to witness reports, Samantha was cold, hungry, and hysterical.
As reported by Fox 40, the young mother told authorities that she and Justice were kidnapped and assaulted. Although she eventually escaped, and made her way out of the woods, Samantha said she had no idea what happened to her son.
On Wednesday, search crews found Justice’s body in the swamp. Although his cause of death has not been confirmed, authorities believe the infant succumbed to the elements.
— KTLA (@KTLA) February 28, 2015
As there were no visible signs of trauma, and the baby was found near the water, authorities believe he likely suffered hypothermia or drowned. Yolo County Sheriff Ed Prieto said he and his colleagues interviewed the young mother about the alleged kidnapping. However, they eventually concluded “Samantha Green was the sole individual responsible for the death of her child.”
Prieto said the heartbreaking incident stunned the community. In his opinion, Justice’s brutal death is “one of the five worst situations” he has ever seen.
Authorities are convinced Samantha is responsible for her son’s death. However, as reported by News 10, her family said she simply is not capable of murder.
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsBayArea) February 26, 2015
Justice’s father, Frank, said Samantha “loved that baby more than anything in this world.” Frank said his girlfriend was “sobbing hysterically” when she made her way out of the swamp. In his opinion, “something was keeping her there” and “she was running from something” when she was found.
Unfortunately, neighbors have indicated that Samantha Green was overwhelmed with the responsibility of a new baby. Dave Petsick describes the young mother as a “really troubled person,” who was trying to find a family to adopt her infant son.
In a jailhouse interview, Samantha claims she was drugged on the night of the alleged kidnapping. Although she provided few details, the young mother said she was trying to protect her son. As reported by KFBK, Samantha also confessed that her infant son died in her arms.
Authorities have not revealed specific details about the case, or why they believe Samantha abandoned her son. However, Sheriff Prieto said there were “a lot of reasons the detectives finally reached the conclusion that they did.”
Samantha Green is currently being held in the Yolo County jail. Although she was charged with murder, prosecutors have not determined whether Justice’s death was premeditated.
[Image via NBC News]