By Cara L. Dempski
HUDSON — A Marathon County woman alleged to have left her then-two-month-old infant in the care of a stranger near Glenwood City has been charged with misdemeanor child neglect in St. Croix County Circuit Court.
Melody Copeland, age 22 of Weston, was arrested on September 2, 2016, after leaving her infant child on the ground next to an unknown worker at a farm near Glenwood City. She had traveled from her home in Schofield to leave the child with its alleged father, Fabien Tepole, for a few days.
When she was unable to find Tepole on arrival at the farm, Copeland placed the child on the ground in its car seat and left the premises.
Someone at the farm contacted the police, who arrived on the scene just prior to Copeland returning with extra diapers and food for the child. A representative of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office said Copeland reportedly returned to the farm when she realized Tepole would need supplies to care for the infant.
The child was medically cleared by EMTs called to the scene despite having been left outdoors without adequate covering on a night where the temperature dropped below 50 degrees. The infant was placed in temporary protective custody by the St. Croix County Child Protection Services. It is unknown if the child remains in protective custody.
Neglect of a child is a class A misdemeanor in Wisconsin. If found guilty, Copeland could face a fine of up to $10,000, nine months in prison, or both. She is scheduled to appear for a status hearing in front of Judge Edward Vlack on February 14 at 11:45 a.m.