Photo: Army Spc. Alexis Hutchinson and her son, Kamani.
(AP Photo/Alexis Hutchinson)
SAVANNAH, Ga. (CBS/AP) Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, a Georgia-based Army cook who's the single mother of a 10-month-old son is in hot water for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan, saying there's no one to care for her child and she feared the Army would force her child into foster care. Military police arrested her Nov.6 at Hunter Army Airfield near Savannah.
The 21-year-old from Oakland, Calif. remained confined to the Army post Monday while her case is investigated.
Hutchinson's civilian attorney, Rai Sue Sussman, says Hutchinson planned for her mother in Oakland to keep the child during her year-long deployment. But Hutchinson's mother decided she couldn't because she's caring for three other relatives with illnesses and special needs.
Sussman said Monday that one of Hutchinson's superiors told her she would have to deploy anyway and place the child in foster care.
"For her it was like, 'I couldn't abandon my child,"' Sussman said. "She was really afraid of what would happen, that if she showed up they would send her to Afghanistan anyway and put her son with child protective services."
Kevin Larson, a spokesman for Hunter Army Airfield, said he didn't know what Hutchinson was told by her commanders, but he said the Army would not deploy a single parent who had nobody to care for his or her child.
"I don't know what transpired and the investigation will get to the bottom of it," Larson said. "If she would have come to the deployment terminal with her child, there's no question she would not have been deployed."
Hutchinson's son, Kamani, was placed into custody of local child welfare officials for "less than two days" when she was arrested and jailed briefly, Larson said. Hutchinson's mother picked up the child a week ago and took him back to her home in California.
Hutchinson, who's assigned to the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade of the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, joined the Army in 2007 and had no previous deployments, Sussman said. She said Hutchinson is no longer in a relationship with the father.
The Army requires all single-parent soldiers to submit a care plan for dependent children before they can deploy to a combat zone. Hutchinson had such a plan - her mother, Angelique Hughes, had agreed to care for the boy. Hughes said Monday she kept the boy for about two weeks in October before deciding she couldn't keep him for a full year.
Hughes said she's already having to care for her ailing mother and sister, as well as a daughter with special needs. She also runs a daycare center at her home, keeping about 14 children during the day.
"This is an infant, and they require 24-hour care," Hughes said. "It was very, very stressful, just too much for me to deal with."
Hughes said she returned the child to his mother in Georgia a few days before her scheduled deployment Nov. 5.
"Spc. Hutchinson's deployment is halted," said Larson, the Hunter Army Airfield spokesman. "There will be no deployment while this situation is ongoing."
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