By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer
The Clovis woman accused of stealing a baby from a Lubbock hospital had previously faked a pregnancy and told a neighbor she had a baby who was sick, acquaintances said Monday.
Wanda Johnson, who said she is the step-mother of Malachi Johnson, an ex-boyfriend of accused abductor Rayshaun Parson, recognized Parson in video footage and alerted police that she knew the woman.
“I recognized the way she walked,” Johnson said.
Parson, 21, is accused of abducting newborn Mychael Darthard-Dawodu on Saturday from Covenant Lakeside Hospital in Lubbock.
Parson, who lives at 1021 1/2 Wallace, was arrested Sunday in Clovis and was extradited to Lubbock on Monday, according to local authorities.
Video footage from the hospital showed a woman wearing blue and flower-print hospital scrubs and a gray, puffy jacket with a hood walking out of the hospital. She concealed the baby in her purse, according to officials.
Johnson said her step-son did not want to comment about Parson.
She said her step-son dated Parson for about a year and a half. He accused her of domestic violence in 2004 and received a restraining order against her, according to New Mexico court documents.
She said Parson faked a pregnancy when she was with her step-son.
The couple ended their relationship and have not had contact for about 3 1/2 years, she said.
“I pray that she (Parson) gets some psychiatric help. … I pray she gets that and gets God in her life,” Wanda Johnson said.
Johnson and other acquaintances of Parson’s said she was formerly employed at a daycare owned by her grandmother, Ann Parson. The daycare is no longer in operation, according to Johnson and other acquaintances. Attempts to reach Ann Parson were not successful.
Phone numbers at Ann Parson’s address in Clovis were disconnected and no one answered the door at that residence Monday.
Darlene Pipinich, 26, who lives near Parson, said Parson told her a few months ago that she had a baby who was sick in Lubbock.
She kept to herself for the most part,” said Pipinich, who noticed Parson was rarely home.
Pipinich said she saw Parson in hospital scrubs on several occasions. Recently, trash from baby items including furniture boxes, shoe boxes and diapers piled up in the alley near their homes, she said.
Pipinich assumed Parson worked in health care and the baby she spoke about had come home.
“It blew me away. … We (Pipinich and her roommates) feel like we were really taken in. We had no idea,” Pipinich said.
Neighbors said Parson lived alone.
Carolyn Spence, a broker with 505 Realtors in Clovis, which manages the property where Parson lives, said Parson indicated she “was anticipating a child.”
Spence said Parson’s home was filled with baby furniture and other baby items. She also said Parson spent a lot of time in Lubbock.
Parson’s attorney, Randall Harris, said Parson has lived in Clovis most of her life and has family in the area.
Harris said his client is “extremely depressed.”
He declined additional comment on her mental state prior to her arrest Sunday and extradition hearing Monday.