Psychologist: Babysitter Charged With Abducting Toddler Is Hallucinating

Abigail Hanna was ordered held without bail pending a competency evaluation

A Massachusetts baby sitter accused of kidnapping a 2-year-old girl who was found naked with her head shaved on the side of the road is hallucinating, according to a court psychologist.

Abigail Hanna faces charges including kidnapping, assault and battery on a child. She was arraigned Monday in Newburyport District Court, where a psychologist testified that the 21-year-old Topsfield resident has also expressed suicidal thoughts.

Hanna's attorney entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf. A judge held Hanna without bail and sent her for a 21-day competency evaluation.

Authorities said Hanna used to baby-sit for 2-year-old Lindon Albers and kidnapped the girl early Friday morning after breaking into her home. The toddler was found hours later and seven miles away, sitting naked by the side of the road with her head shaved. She was taken to the hospital but has since been released.

A psychologist who evaluated Hanna said the baby sitter is experiencing "multiple psychotic symptoms," adding that Hanna is "not competent" and does not have a "factual understanding of the charges" against her.

According to a search warrant for Hanna's home, the 21-year-old babysat only once for Lindon's family before she was terminated.

A woman who lives with the Hanna family told investigators she was worried about Hanna, who "had a history of stealing things" and had suffered a miscarriage one month prior to the incident, according to the search warrant.

The tenant told investigators she would see Hanna leaving around 1:30 a.m. every other night and returning around 4:30 a.m., the warrant states. It's not clear where Hanna was, but she allegedly told investigators she knew the toddler's parents left their doors unlocked.

According to the paperwork, Lindon's mother heard her daughter over the baby monitor just before 5 a.m. the night she vanished. Then, at 6:30 a.m., both parents found their daughter missing and the rear door open. They immediately called police.

The affidavit alleges Hanna lied to investigators multiple times about her whereabouts when Lindon disappeared, then attempted to leave home with several bags, but was stopped. Investigators said they found toddler's clothing in one bag, and a washed but still muddy pink jacket.

Hanna said nothing in court Monday, looking down and away from the judge, who ordered Hanna to undergo a competency evaluation at the Worcester Recovery Center. Hanna will return to court Dec. 11 with the results of that evaluation.

Her lawyer, Susan H. McNeil, issued a statement after Monday's court appearance saying Hanna is addressing "serious and potentially life-threatening issues" that have compromised her overall mental health. 

"We are in the early stages of the process of trying to determine the facts of what occurred over the past several days," McNeil said. "We have entered a plea of Not Guilty to further the process."

Hanna's family released a statement Monday asking for privacy and offering support to the toddler's family.

"We are so thankful that Lyndon is improving and wish her and her family complete hearing in every way. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We also will continue to care for Abi, whom we love very much. We ask that everyone respect the privacy of both families in this very difficult time," the statement said.

Lindon's family also issued a statement ahead of Hanna's court appearance Monday:

"We have suffered a horrific ordeal. We are grateful to have our daughter back. We are extremely thankful for the incredible efforts to rescue our daughter by the Police and all emergency responders. We are extremely grateful to the kind couple who found our daughter.

"We are extremely thankful for having the best family, friends and community supporting us through this difficult time. We are asking for privacy out of respect for the young ages of our children, and out of an understanding that as parents we need to be able to restore a sense of calm, comfort, and normalcy for the well being of our children."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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