Records confirm previous abandonment arrests for SW Atlanta mother

Parents lengthy criminal history

ATLANTA -- The mother of an 11-month-old baby who disappeared for several hours has been arrested five times for child abandonment, 11Alive has learned.

Family members said Durante Cochran fell asleep in his 6-year-old brother's arms beside their grandmother late Wednesday night. When they woke up, the child was gone.

The child was finally found Thursday morning after a frantic search.  

There were five adults in the house at the time of his disappearance. His mother, Bridgett Smith, was not at home.

Smith was questioned by police and arrested, but not in connection with Durante's disappearance. She had a failure to appear warrant out on previous charges of child neglect.

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Cochran’s father, Fernando Brantley, who was at the home at the time of the incident, was also arrested on an unrelated drug charge.

While the two haven’t been charged in Cochran’s disappearance, police said they don’t believe the child just walked away and spent all night in the woods.

11Alive’s Ryan Kruger has learned that the parents have long criminal histories.

Bridgett Smith has an arrest history dating back several years, including being booked five times in the Fulton County Jail on child abandonment charges.

Those charges date back to 2013 -- long before 11-month-old Durante was born.

When police first started searching for Durante late Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, they had to call Smith, who was somewhere else.

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Meanwhile, Durante was sleeping on the couch with two other people in a house with no electricity and owned by the bank.

According to jail records, Brantley is charged with violating probation after being accused of possession of marijuana and cocaine with intent to distribute.

Police had been to the home more than 120 times in the past two years. According to call logs, the codes were most often for drunk and disorderly, fights, and rowdy children.

Family members, police and others are still wondering if it's even possible that baby Durante walked the distance from his house to where he was found.

(© 2016 WXIA)


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