Mississippi boy, 2, abandoned at Goodwill with note, change of clothes

His mother said later that she didn't abandon him; she was abandoned for not prostituting herself.

A two-year-old boy was reportedly left abandoned at a Goodwill donation center in Southaven, Mississippi early Monday morning, but his mother was located in Nashville, Tennessee hours later. 

According to police, nearby surveillance video captured images of two men and a woman associated with the incident, in addition to the vehicle they were driving when the child was abandoned. 

This two-year-old boy. now identified only as Sergio, was reportedly abandoned at a Goodwill donation center in Southhaven, Mississippi early Monday morning with a note and a change of clothes. (Southhaven Police Department)

The initial report notes that a light-skinned black male wearing black jogging pants and a black cowboy hat dropped off the child, who was holding a plastic bag. The suspect then left the scene on foot. 

local news outlet interviewed a Goodwill employee who said a man walked up to him, declared “the child’s mother couldn’t care for him” and walked away. 

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The child had in his possession a plastic shopping bag containing a change of clothes, food and a note reading, “child abandoned…no phone number for mom” written on a paper towel. 

An updated report hours later noted that the boy’s mother, Antoinette Smith, says she did not abandon her son, who she identified as Sergio.

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Memphis activist Barbara Buress conversed with Smith in a Facebook Live broadcast Monday, and Smith told her she connected with a male acquaintance Sunday and traveled to Nashville. Her son, she said, had stayed back in Memphis with the man’s sister.

According to Smith, her friend revealed afterward that the woman she’d left Sergio with wasn’t his sister, but his girlfriend.

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“If I knew that I said I wouldn’t have left my baby like that. Ain’t no way I would have left my baby,” said Smith. “That’s all I got with me.”

She told Buress the man abandoned her at an unnamed store after she refused to prostitute herself.

“He was like, ‘You better get out there and sell some a-s-s’ and all that type of stuff,” Smith said. “I told him, ‘I’m not doing nothing.'”

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A suspect was taken reportedly into custody Monday afternoon at a Kroger market in Cordova, located about 25 minutes east of Memphis. No additional information was given or charges were announced.

The incident’s initial report notes the toddler was not properly dressed for the winter weather but otherwise appeared healthy and in good spirits. He was laughing and playing with toys when police arrived, and he held up two fingers to tell police his age when asked. 

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In the state of Mississippi, infants may be surrendered legally for up to three days after their birth, but to emergency service providers only.

Sergio is now in the care of Mississippi Child Protective Services. 

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