Mom charged with murder after her 10-month-old baby was found in a tunnel

SCHENECTADY, NY – Persia Nelson, a 24-year-old resident of Schenectady, was brought before a court on charges related to the death of her 10-month-old child, Halo R. Branton. Nelson is facing second-degree manslaughter charges, with police announcing the addition of a second-degree depraved murder charge against her in a press conference on Monday.

The case was brought into the limelight after security guards at the General Electric Plant notified the authorities on March 9th, citing Nelson’s disoriented presence on their premises and her claim of losing her baby. As authorities investigated, it was established that Nelson had left a 12th Street address before heading to the GE Campus, triggering an intensive overnight search operation involving State Police and Forest Rangers.

Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford noted that with the sunrise, they were unable to eliminate the possibility of the child being abducted, leading to the issuance of an Amber alert. However, there was a transcription error. While the alert reached authorities and the media by 10:10 AM, it was only released to the public at 11:15 AM. Commander Dennis Schager of NYS Police Troop G assured the media that the New York Alert System and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children are rectifying this error.

Despite the delay, investigators continued their dedicated efforts, leading to a breakthrough in the case at 12:30 PM. Halo was discovered in an unresponsive state, submerged up to her neck in water inside a utility tunnel on the GE campus, according to Chief Eric Clifford. Baby Halo was immediately taken to Ellis Hospital, where she was later declared dead. Initial autopsy reports indicated Halo died from hypothermia and exposure, not drowning. Court records suggest that Nelson left Halo in the 8ft pipe.

Chief Clifford confirmed that a further charge, murder with second-degree and depraved indifference, is being lodged against Nelson. District Attorney Robert Carney plans to present these new charges along with the existing ones to a grand jury soon.

Nelson, also a mother to another child now in the custody of their father, was held at the county jail with bail set at $500,000. Her next scheduled court appearance is on March 14th.