Mom Who Gave Birth in Motel Bathtub After Crack Binge Doesn't Belong in Jail

chrystal hassel mugshotA heartwrenching, gut-churning story out of Ocala, Florida involves a woman who gave birth to a premature baby in a motel bathroom after binging on crack cocaine. Thirty-seven-year-old Chrystal A. Hassell, who was seven or eight months along, reportedly cut the newborn's umbilical cord with her teeth after she went into labor. She later called 911 upon seeing that her baby had turned blue.

Hassell is now in jail, on suicide watch. Thankfully, the infant is hanging on, albeit in critical condition at UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

What on earth are we, let alone law enforcement, to make of this? Perhaps that what happened here is as tragic as it is horrific.


Hassell has two other children -- an 11-month-old with her boyfriend, Vincent Terry, who also fathered the infant, and a 16-year-old daughter who was reportedly born addicted to drugs as a result of Hassell's drug use during her pregnancy.

It's obviously been a lifelong battle for Hassell. The mom of three told police she has struggled with drugs since she was a teen and didn't know she was pregnant until March. She had vowed to stay off crack while carrying the child, but the incident this past weekend was obviously a horrible relapse.

That said, it's easy to understand why Hassell was arrested on charges of child neglect. Still, I'm not sure more jail time or further charges are what this troubled woman needs. Seems like a case for psychiatric action, rehab, etc.

Terry, who is currently in jail as well after a warrant for attempted murder and domestic violence was issued for him stemming from an unspecified incident in Colorado, told the Ocala Star Banner of his girlfriend:

Of course we’re going to stay together. My kids are here. She’s not a bad person. She just got a problem and, together, we’ll fight it.

As rock bottom as this incident sounds, we should only hope that they do fight Hassell's addiction -- and win.

What do you make of this horrible story? Do you think there's hope for Hassell?

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