A Freetown woman who was detained last week following a stabbing that sparked a search for a 2-year-old boy appeared in court on Monday to answer charges of attempted murder. In anticipation of a mental competency assessment and hearing, her arraignment was delayed.
Angelleah Duarte, 25, of Freetown, pleaded not guilty to the counts of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in Fall River District Court.
Duarte’s head was bowed down and her shoulder-length, dark brown hair was pushed forward, covering her entire face. Throughout the brief court appearance, Duarte remained motionless and appeared to be supported at the elbow by a court official at moments.
Since his arrest on Friday, Duarte has been detained on a $50,000 bail. In order to ascertain “whether a defendant in a criminal case is able to stand trial or is criminally responsible by reason of mental disease or mental defect,” defense counsel Rene Brown asked Duarte to undergo a 15(a) evaluation.
Duarte is scheduled to return to court on Thursday, December 22 to face the competency hearing after Judge Kevin Finnerty granted the request.
A Freetown resident called the police on Friday night just before 8:30 p.m. when a neighbor showed up at their house covered in blood. Police arrived and found that the 56-year-old neighbor had been stabbed in the face.
The victim informed the police that Duarte had fled the scene of the stabbing at a nearby residence with a 2-year-old child.
An ambulance was used to transport the victim to a nearby hospital. Soon after, a witness assisted authorities in finding Duarte; she was then taken to the hospital, but the kid was still missing.
The area was searched for the youngster by Freetown police, the K-9 unit, and members of the Freetown Fire Department, as well as by search and rescue teams from the Southeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council and a drone from Dartmouth Police outfitted with a thermal-imaging camera.
The child’s heat signature was discovered by the drone piloted by Dartmouth Police Officer Justin Medeiros shortly after 10 p.m. in a wooded area a quarter-mile from the location of the child’s last sighting.
Medeiros radioed Dartmouth Sgt. Scott Stanton to the location. According to authorities, the kid was rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment after being exposed to the cold and rain when Stanton found and found the child.
After she was released from the hospital, Duarte was detained and imprisoned.