Jersey City’s ‘Home Alone’ mom surrenders; past record includes child neglect

The 24-year-old Jersey City mother accused of leaving her three young children home alone surrendered at the Police Department’s South District this afternoon.

Dashnay Beckwith didn’t say a word as police escorted her from the stationhouse to a waiting vehicle that would transport her to the Hudson County jail in Kearny.  But her attorney, Adrienne Edward, described Beckwith as a struggling single mother who just wants her kids back.

“She’s a woman that is clearly concerned with the well-being of her children, our goal here is reunification,” Edward said. “She’s willing to do whatever she can to be reunited with her kids.”

The mother of boys ages 2, 3 and 6, is charged with cruelty/neglect of children, abuse/abandonment of children and endangering the welfare of children.

Meanwhile, The Jersey Journal learned today that this is not Beckwith’s first brush with the law, nor is it the first time she’s been accused of child neglect.

According to Florida authorities, Beckwith has a record that includes child neglect involving a daughter who lives in that state. And she has a number of other convictions involving other crimes such as bad checks.

Jersey City Police Lt. Edgar Martinez said the school district called police Tuesday afternoon when a representative sent to check on the 6-year-old saw a young child, naked, on the balcony of Beckwith’s second-story home on Tuesday.

Lt. John Gillen and Det. Frank Steinhauser negotiated her arrest.
“Anything could have happened to them,” Gillen said. “It’s a bad area where they were.”

In a phone call to The Jersey Journal on Tuesday, Beckwith — while still a fugitive — said she had left the house to seek employment and got delayed when she had to take a drug test.

She reportedly left the Pamrapo Avenue apartment — which had no food in the refrigerator, according to reports — at about 8 a.m. and police and a school official responded to the scene at 2:14 p.m., reports said.

The school official was sent to check on the 6-year-old who was absent from school and had missed 50 days this year, reports said.

This is not the first time Beckwith has been charged with child endangerment.

While in Florida, she served two years probation for child neglect committed in January 2005 and was also charged with child abuse in October 2005, according to reports. The disposition of the child abuse charge could not be determined.

The Florida charges stem from a daughter she has in that state, police said.

Law enforcement officials in Florida said Beckwith is wanted there on two outstanding warrants of violating the terms of her probation.

According to the Florida Department of Corrections, she also was sentenced to two years probation for fraud, grand theft of more than $300 but less than $5,000, and three offenses of depositing a check with intent to defraud. Those offenses were committed between May 13, 2005, and Aug. 7, 2006, according to the Florida DOC.

Beckwith’s brushes with the law in Florida began in 2004 when she was charged with criminal mischief of $1,000 or more, Lt. Jerome Rothman of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Department said.

Over the next two years, she was charged with numerous offenses, including passing worthless checks, failure to redeliver leased property, aggravated assault with a vehicle, retail theft of $300 or more and battery.

Edward, her attorney, declined to comment on the Florida charges.

Edward confirmed that Beckwith was at a job interview Tuesday, but wouldn’t say how long she was gone. She said Beckwith thought she was “doing the right thing.”

By Ron Zeitlinger/The Jersey Journal on June 17, 2010 at 7:50 PM, updated June 18, 2010 at 9:55 AM

Journal staff writer Melissa Hayes contributed to this report.

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