Judge denies bond reduction for mother of missing toddler

Published: Jan. 30, 2012 at 1:18 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 10, 2012 at 5:34 PM EST
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Zinah Jennings
Zinah Jennings
Amir Jennings
Amir Jennings

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS/AP) - A judge has denied a motion to reduce bond for a mother whose 18-month-old child has been missing since before Thanksgiving.

Richland County Circuit County Judge Casey Manning made the decision a day after Zinah Jennings and her attorney appeared in court to say that police are violating her rights by opposing her release on bond.

Hemphill Pride II said in court Monday that police oppose Zinah Jennings' release from jail because the 22-year-old mother hasn't told them where her young son is. Pride said his client has a right to remain silent.

"The real reason that the police department is holding her is in violation of her constitutional right to remain silent," said Pride. "

She's charged with a crime and for some reason they think if you're charged with a crime and you don't cooperate with them, then you're a flight risk."

Pride told a judge that his pregnant client's $150,000 bond should be lowered so she can be released and get prenatal care. The judge said he will rule later.

Police say Jennings hasn't cooperated with them at all, at one point telling investigators that she didn't even have a child.

"She said she did not have a son, when pressed, after a nurse pointed out that she had marks from a C-section, Zinah then began a process of telling multiple stories to law enforcement about the location of her son," said investigator Colin Bailey.

The mystery of Amir is still that 54 days later, investigators don't even know what day the child disappeared.

"Even until this day, we're not able to exactly determine where Mrs. Jennings has been," said Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott.

Jennings' bond remains at $150,000.

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Copyright 2012 WIS. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.