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Mercedes Deanna Pennington. (Courtesy Portage Co. Jail)

Stevens Point woman faces charges of child neglect, battery

By Brandi Makuski

A Stevens Point woman has been issued a $350 cash bond after police say she left her one-year-old daughter home alone while she violated a no-contact order to continue an argument with her boyfriend.

Mercedes Deanna Pennington, 25, was arrested shortly before noon on Dec. 28 from her mother’s home on the 2500 block of Blaine St. The mother reportedly called police seeking help to control her daughter’s behavior, which was described in court documents as “highly intoxicated” and “out of control.”

Pennington appeared for her bond hearing on Dec. 30 by video from the Portage Co. Jail.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Zell said the incident report was lengthy, outlining a 24-hour period where Pennington had allegedly been drinking and arguing with her boyfriend beginning Dec. 27. Pennington was under a judge’s orders to refrain from contact with the man, and her mother, for pending charges related to previous domestic abuse incidents.

Pennington’s boyfriend drove to the mother’s home to inform her that Pennington had started fighting with him, and had been driving down Michigan Ave. “at 60 miles an hour, with the couple’s one-year-old child in the backseat,” according to Zell.

Pennington arrived at her mother’s home soon after and continued arguing with both. At one point in the argument, Pennington punched her mother with a closed first, Zell said.

The mother told police that as Pennington left the residence, she struck the boyfriend’s vehicle with her car, causing damage.

Police became concerned about Pennington’s daughter because the girl’s whereabouts were unknown when Pennington was placed under arrest.

“When police asked Mercedes where her child was, she could not give them an answer,” Zell said. “She initially said the child was in the vehicle, then said the child was with the child’s father, then claimed the child was in her mother’s home.”

The child turned up during a quick search of Pennington’s apartment, located on Indiana Ave., where police found the child under a blanket, but alone. The kitchen stove was on, Zell said, and turned up to 400 degrees.

“The child was alone in the residence for an unknown period of time,” Zell added. “Officers later learned that Mercedes had left her there during this altercation in an attempt to continue the altercation.”

A preliminary blood test would later show Pennington’s blood-alcohol level was .21 percent. Zell said the DA’s office plans to charge Pennington with disorderly conduct, battery, and child neglect.

Zell requested that Pennington be held on a $500 cash bond. Defense attorney Jessica Phelps said that a CHIPS petition was already initiated against Pennington, and that the daughter had been removed from the home.

Court Commissioner Melissa Dalkert issued the $350 cash bond with conditions that Pennington not possess or consume alcohol, and cannot have contact with her mother or boyfriend, outside of court proceedings.

Pennington is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 13.