Friday, July 13, 2001

Woman charged in bridge scare

Cincinnatian being evaluated

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — An Over-the-Rhine woman who tried to leap from the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge after witnesses said she threatened to toss her infant into the Ohio River was charged Thursday with three felony counts of criminal abuse.

        Rochelle D. Roe, 26, of Liberty Street in Cincinnati, is being held in the psychiatric ward of St. Elizabeth Medical Center South in Edgewood until a mental health hearing Wednesday at the Kenton County courthouse. The courts will determine if Ms. Roe should be sent to Eastern State Hospital in Lexington for evaluation and treatment, according to police.

        Her three children, ages 1 month, 11 months and 3 years, are in the custody of Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services and have been placed together in one of the agency's foster homes.

        The Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services got emergency custody of the three children today at a hearing. Agency spokeswoman Laurie Petrie said the children have been placed together in one foster home as the courts determine Ms. Roe's next stop.

        Ms. Petrie confirmed that her agency had an open investigation involving Ms. Roe before she threatened to jump from the bridge.

        Ms. Roe told police she tried to jump because she had just had an argument with her estranged boyfriend — the father of the three children — and that the family services agency was investigating her.

        Police officers said charges were brought after a police investigation showed that Ms. Roe threatened and endangered the lives of her children, who were on the bridge with her.

        Workers from a nearby restaurant have been credited with helping save Ms. Roe's life by grabbing her as she tried to leap off the bridge early Tuesday. They also calmly talked to her as she threatened to toss her infant into the river minutes before.

        The warrant will not be served at this time, police said Thursday afternoon, pending the results of the Wednesday hearing and possible mental evaluation and treatment.

        If convicted, Ms. Roe could face up to 10 years in prison.


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