An army cook and single mom who refused to deploy to Afghanistan, saying there was no one to care for her 10-month-old son, has been arrested and her son placed in foster care. Now she could face criminal charges.
Military police arrested 21-year-old Spc. Alexis Hutchinson November 6 after she failed to show up to deploy to Afghanistan with her unit. Hutchinson had initially planned to have her 10-month-old son stay with her mother while she was away on the yearlong deployment. Now her mother says she is unable to care for the infant because she is caring for three other relatives with illnesses. The army initially gave her an extension to find someone to take care of her baby after her mother said she could not, but then reneged, saying she would have to deploy immediately. When she did not show up for her flight to Afghanistan, she was arrested and her son was placed in foster care.
Hutchinson's attorney, Rai Sue Sussman, says Hutchinson does not have any family or friends who can care for the infant, and needs more time to find suitable child care. She also claims the army is forcing her to "make an inhumane choice. She did not have a complete family care plan, meaning she did not find someone to provide long-term care for her child. She's required to have a complete family care plan, and was told she'd have an extension, but then they changed it on her."
As to why she believes the military revoked the extension, Sussman says, "I think they didn't believe her that she was unable to find someone to care for her infant. They think she's just trying to get out of her deployment. But she's just trying to find someone she can trust to take care of her baby."
Hutchinson reportedly told her lawyer, "It is outrageous that they would deploy a single mother without a complete and current family care plan. I would like to find someone I trust who can take care of my son, but I cannot force my family to do this. They are dealing with their own health issues." She says one of the commanders in her unit didn't believe this was a family crisis, and that her mother should have been able to take care of the child.
A spokesman for Hunter Army Airfield where Hutchinson is based says no charges have been filed yet, although she is confined to the post until the investigation is complete. Her son is now out of the state's care and in California with his grandmother.