Mother of missing S.C. boy Amir Jennings denied bond
(CBS/AP) COLUMBIA, S.C. - A Richland County judge has denied a request to lower the bond for the mother of a South Carolina boy missing since Thanksgiving.
Judge Casey Manning ordered Tuesday that 22-year-old Zinah Jennings continue to be held in the county jail on $150,000 bond.
Jennings has been held since late December on an unlawful neglect of a child charge. Police say they arrested her for lying about the whereabouts of her son, Amir. The boy was 18-months-old when he was reported missing. Jennings allegedly fabricated multiple stories about where he is.
Her attorney, Hemphill Pride II, says he is shocked at the judge's decision. He said police are violating his client's constitutional rights by opposing her release on bond.
Hemphill Pride II said in court Monday that police oppose Jennings' release from jail because the 22-year-old mother hasn't told them where her young son is. He said the $150,000 bond is punishment because she is not talking to police. Pride says Jennings has a right to remain silent, and that his client would have a lower bond if authorities were not still looking for her son.
The State reports Pride said Jennings should have been released because she is pregnant, and needs prenatal care. Furthermore, doctors at a psychiatric hospital had determined that Jennings is mentally ill, he said.
Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott told the judge that Jennings is a flight risk, noting her own family had reported her missing in early December and because of her frequent travel between Columbia and Georgia and North Carolina.
Last week, investigators searched a rural area for the toddler but found no evidence of the boy.
More on Crimesider
Jan. 30, 2012 - Mother of missing S.C. toddler Amir Jennings due in court today
Jan. 27, 2012 - Search called off for missing S.C. toddler Amir Jennings, mother in jail accused of lying to police
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