Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mom identified, tot found; dad arrested

MONSEY — Investigators in three states are trying to piece together how a young woman's body ended up in flames in a Ramapo town park this week after her baby daughter was found locked in a gas station restroom about 160 miles away in Delaware.

New Jersey authorities charged the father — Dwayne Jackson, 25, of Edison, N.J. — with kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child Thursday . The girl, Hannah Jackson, is 20 months old.

Dwayne Jackson was being held on $750,000 bail, said Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan in New Jersey.

Jackson also is charged in Newark, Del., with first-degree reckless endangering in connection to the case.

The girl's mother is Patricia Belizaire, 24, of New Brunswick, N.J., according to a law enforcement source. Her burning corpse, with the name "Patricia" tattooed on her lower back, was found in the parking lot of Manny Weldler Town Park by two newspaper carriers at 5:38 a.m. Monday, a day after her daughter was found.

Ramapo police investigators believe the person who dumped her body and set it ablaze did so about 15 to 20 minutes before the body was found.

"It appears likely that the female murder victim located in Rockland County is the 24-year-old mother of the abandoned child found in Newark, Del.," Rockland District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said on Thursday.

Investigators declined to comment Thursday on whether Jackson is a suspect in any crime other than leaving his daughter in the gas station bathroom.

They would not describe the relationship between Jackson, who is married, and Belizaire, other than to say they had a child together.

The link between Hannah's kidnapping and the discovery of Belizaire's body is being investigated, said James O'Neill, a spokesman for the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office.

Hannah had been living with her mother in North Brunswick, N.J., until she was found crying, locked in the restroom of a Shell service station on South College Avenue in Newark, Del., at 2:42 p.m Sunday.

The gas station is off Interstate 95, about 2 hours from Rockland. Investigators have declined to discuss whether Belizaire was killed in the Monsey park or elsewhere. Ramapo is about 66 miles from New Brunswick, while Newark, Del., is about 100 miles from New Brunswick.

Jackson is married and has two young sons with his wife, Lizette Jackson, who has a 12-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, his neighbors in Edison said Thursday after his arrest.

Jackson worked a night shift as a security guard at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, according to his neighbors. A hospital spokesman did not immediately confirm whether Jackson worked for the facility.

"He's very nice, very polite," said Tulio Garcia, who lives next to Jackson and his family on Weldon Road in Edison. "He calls me Mr. Garcia, and I said, 'No, use my first name,' and he said, 'No sir, I don't do that.'[0x1d] "

Garcia and other neighbors said Jackson had been quick to help people in the neighborhood shovel snow from their driveways.

Jackson has no criminal record.

Hannah has been placed in foster care. Nick Krayer, deputy child advocate for New Castle County, Del., said she will remain in Delaware for now.

"Ultimately she may go back with a family member to New Jersey," Krayer said.
Hannah's photo is featured on a Facebook page under the name of Patricia Belizaire, whose last entry was Feb. 20, two days before she was found dead.

Investigators had been seeking to identify Belizaire through her colorful tattoo with the name "Patricia" and a red rose atop a green stem.

She also underwent gall bladder surgery within the past three weeks, according to the Rockland County Medical Examiner's Office, following an autopsy.

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