DOTHAN, Ala. - A Georgia woman whose dead baby was found in a freezer in an Alabama hotel room pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of manslauughter of abuse of a corpse.
Amanda Gail Oakes, 36, of Murrayville, was indicted on the charges in December. According to the Dothan Eagle, a charge of felony chemical endangerment of a child — a Class A felony that carries a penalty of no less than 10 years and up to 99 years in prison — has been added.
Carlton James Oakes was in the freezer at the InTown Suites for five or six days before being found, according to Dothan police.
Oakes and 28-year-old Carlton James Mathis, a Gainesville man who police said is the baby’s father, were apprehended in Florida on June 4 after a multistate manhunt.
Investigators said the two left Hall County with the 6-month-old after authorities tried to arrest Mathis on burglary and parole violation charges, AJC.com previously reported.
After the couple checked into a Dothan motel, Oakes returned to Georgia, where she picked up her teenage daughter. She left the baby with Mathis.
According to investigators, Mathis called Oakes and said the baby had died.
Police said the couple went shopping at Walmart before heading to Florida, leaving the baby’s body in the freezer of the hotel room.
The Dothan newspaper reported that Oakes told investigators they put the body in the freezer because of the smell.
Authorities found the couple at an apartment in Bronson, Florida. SWAT officers were called in, and Mathis, who reportedly was armed, was shot four times after he allegedly tried to run.
Oakes’ trial is scheduled for March.
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