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Mom pleads guilty to child cruelty in Stafford

RELATED: See more crime news from the Fredericksburg region

A woman whose 6-month-old daughter was found upside down in a car seat alone in a Falmouth motel room late Nov. 13 has pleaded guilty to two charges Wednesday.

Christine Faye Clark, also known as Christine Maxson, was convicted of child neglect and child cruelty in Stafford Circuit Court.

She will face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when she is sentenced April 22.

According to prosecutor Michael Hardiman, guests at the Motel 6 on Warrenton Road called police about 10:45 p.m. because a baby had been crying for about two hours. No one was answering knocks on the door.

Deputy John Miller got the motel management to open the door and found the baby strapped in a car seat, upside down on a bed. Hardiman said the baby had bruises on her back and chest from hanging upside down but did not appear to be seriously injured.

However, an examination at a hospital later showed that the child had cocaine in her system. A smoking device containing cocaine residue was found on a night stand next to the bed where the baby was found.

The evidence showed that Clark returned to the motel room about an hour after police arrived. She claimed to have been upstairs for about an hour drinking with a friend.

Hardiman said Clark tried to conceal the crack pipe that police had already seen.

The baby was placed in the care of Child Protective Services, where she remains.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404