UPDATE: Missing Infant Found, Mother Charged
After a nearly 24-hour search, Bismarck Police said missing infant LeahMae Morsette was dropped off safe and healthy at Sanford Hospital at 4:15 p.m. on Tuesday. Police have yet to identify who brought her to Sanford, but they have not filed charges against Cole Pfaf, who was named officially by police as a person of interest during the search.
“We were hoping for this outcome and we got the result that we wanted,” Bismarck Police Chief Dave Drayovitch told KX News.
LeahMae will remain at Sanford under police protection while medical staff monitor and evaluate her condition. Once she’s been given a clean bill of health, she’ll be put under the supervision of Burleigh County Social Services.
Police have charged Dawn Morsette, 27, with child neglect and preventing arrest, both of which are Class C felonies. According to North Dakota law, a Class C felony carries a maximum five year sentence and/or a $10,000 fine upon conviction.
The mother is currently being held in the Burleigh County Detention Center on $2,500 cash bond. She has also been issued a no-contact order, meaning she can’t see her daughter without the approval of Social Services.
The ordeal initially began when police responded to a welfare check at Dawn Morsette's apartment around 6 p.m. Monday. There they found her with two men she claimed to have met that day, and police said the believed her to be coming down from some type of drug use.
Morsette has previously been charged with child abuse in 2015. In that instance she admitted to leaving her 3 and 5 year old children in the car on a hot day while she went inside a Bismarck Walmart to shoplift.