Susan Baker gets 25 years

As I have recorded previously, last month Susan Baker, the stepmother of Paul Baker and the prime suspect in his 1987 disappearance, was convicted of kidnapping someone else’s kid and keeping her (alive) in a box under her bed. Her protests that she was “protecting” the child from abusive parents were in vain.

Well, Susan got 25 years in prison for her crime. The judge said the kidnapping was “bizarre and cruel.” She got credit for the 375 days she was in jail awaiting trial, so that makes 24 years. The prosecution asked for 35 years — which is one year for every hour Shannon Dedrick spent stuffed inside that box. But 25 years still means Susan Baker will not get out of prison until she’s an old woman.

(The article has a picture of Shannon. I swear she is the roundest-headed kid I’ve ever seen. She looks like Charlie Brown.)

The article refers to James Baker — Paul’s father — as Susan’s ex-husband. They were married at the time of Shannon’s kidnapping, so their divorce must have been fairly recent. I wouldn’t want to be married to someone who’s going to spend the next two and a half decades in prison. I would consider such a spouse to be effectively dead. Never mind that she probably killed James’s son, try as he might to deny that.

Where is Paul?

Shannon Dedrick’s mom pleads to misdemeanor charge

I had written about the Shannon Dedrick case earlier: a baby, given by her mother to another woman who kept her hidden in a small, unventilated box for hours and hours before the baby was rescued. That woman was Susan Elizabeth Baker, the stepmother of Paul Baker, and the prime suspect in his 1987 disappearance.

Susan was convicted of three felony charges earlier this month in connection with Shannon Dedrick’s kidnapping. Well, yesterday, Shannon’s mother, Chrystina Mercer, pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor charge of providing false information to the police. This is almost exactly one year since Shannon’s disappearance. Chrystina got the max, 364 days in jail, but with credit for time served, she was released immediately. She got off easy. She had been facing much more serious charges, but the substance of those were the statements of Susan Baker, whose reputation for honesty is, shall we say, questionable.

Shannon is now in a foster home. Her father has surrendered his parental rights and Chrystina isn’t allowed to have contact with her at this time.

Where is Paul?


The Miami Herald
The Panama City News Herald

Susan Baker guilty of all charges

In South Carolina in 1987, a little boy named Paul Baker disappeared. His case is listed on many sites as a non-family abduction and, perhaps, that’s what happened. But authorities have long suspected Paul’s father, James, and stepmother, Susan, were involved in his disappearance. James himself suggested Susan might have harmed his son, but the next day he backpedaled and said he’d changed his mind and thought she was innocent after all.

Paul’s six-year-old sister, Nina, was removed from the home two and a half weeks after her brother’s disappearance and never returned to it. Authorities discovered she’d been subject to severe physical abuse at Susan’s hands, bad enough that Susan was charged with assault and battery with intent to kill. Susan pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, was sentenced to ten years, and got out of jail after serving a whopping eighty days. (Still can’t figure that one out.) Nina was sent first to foster care, then to her grandmother, then to her biological mother. James and Susan moved to Florida. Paul was never found.

In what sounds like something out of a bad movie — or, at least, a Law and Order episode — Susan was linked to another child’s disappearance in late 2009: a baby girl, Shannon Dedrick. Susan was Shannon’s babysitter and half-sister to Shannon’s father. After five days, Shannon turned up in a box hidden under Susan’s bed. Miraculously, she was alive and well, and I hope she was too young to suffer any mental afteraffects of the experience.

Authorities charged both Susan and Shannon’s mother, Chrystina Mercer, with a wide range of felonies. The story was that Shannon’s mother decided to give the baby to Susan for keeps, but then for some reason she told the police the baby had been kidnapped. Apparently, neither Paul Baker nor Shannon’s father had any idea of the situation. (Unsurprisingly, both of Shannon’s parents were viewed as dysfunctional. Chrystina is bipolar and I believe one or both of them is also slightly mentally retarded. Shannon is now in foster care. Her parents do seem unfit, but Susan was hardly a better alternative.) This was all highly publicized and lead to some articles on Paul’s disappearance as well, but seemingly without any positive result in his case.

Well, almost a year later, Susan has been found guilty of three felony charges: aggravated child abuse, interference with custody, and giving false information to law enforcement officers. The child abuse charge is for stuffing Shannon in a tiny box and leaving her there for a combined total of some 26 hours over five days. Susan’s defense is that she was trying to protect the baby from Chrystina. Her attorney actually compared it to Moses’s mother putting him in a basket and setting him adrift on the Nile. Riiiight. Susan faces up to 35 years in prison and let’s hope she actually serves more than 1% of it. Chrystina has yet to be tried.

My question: so now is James finally going to divorce that twat?

And finally, where is Paul?

Some articles about the conviction:
WMBB News 13
The Walton Sun

Some articles about the trial:
WJHG (jurors get to view Shannon’s box)
The Walton Sun (Chrystina called to testify, takes the Fifth)
WMBB News 13 (Susan Baker testifies in her own defense, acts the part of martyr)
Walton Sun again (cops testify)
Foster Folly News (Shannon’s dad testifies)