Days before child found in trash can, mom pardoned in another child's death
BATON ROUGE – A mother facing charges for birthing her baby in an area Walmart then leaving the newborn in a trash can was granted a pardon for an arrest related to the death of another child days earlier, the WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered.
WBRZ learned Kyandrea Thomas was granted a first-offender pardon for the death of the 3-year-old in 2009. Then, the child was left in a van at Wanda's Kids World when temperatures reached 90 degrees outside. Thomas and another woman pleaded guilty to negligent homicide charges related to the child's death. For those charges, Thomas was pardoned on December 21, 2016 – two days before Thomas' newborn was found in the trash at the New Roads shopping center.
According to state records, first-offender pardons are granted, in many cases, automatically, after an offender completes their sentence. The pardon is only available to people who have never been convicted of a felony before. State policy additionally outlines that convicted persons can only qualify if crimes were non-violent, though some battery and assault charges are also allowed to be pardoned.
After the original story was posted to WBRZ.com, the state provided clarification. Thomas, the state said, was not cleared of any wrongdoing and while pardoned, the previous charges could be used against her later. A first-offender pardon means Thomas - or anyone - does not have to list the offense on job applications and can vote but can not own a gun. Felony convictions typically come with a ban on voting and gun rights.
Thomas, 34 at the time of her arrest, was charged with attempted murder related to the birth and dumping of her child. Authorities said Thomas gave birth in a bathroom at the Walmart then left the child in a trash can on the night of December 23.
The child, known as “Baby Olivia,” survived and was last reported to be in state custody.
A nursing student happened to be at the store at the time and helped save the child. In an exclusive interview with WBRZ, the soon-to-be-nurse explained her calling:
"To sum everything up, there is one word, and that's God. God put me there in that moment, and I don't know why, but you can't question why...but God put me there, baby Olivia is healthy at Woman's and that's all I could ask for is for that baby to live a healthy life."
Thomas remains in custody. She was transferred from Pointe Coupee where she'd been housed to East Baton Rouge recently.
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