Chief Investigator testifies in Jennings case
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH / AP) -- The trial of a South Carolina mother charged in the case of her missing son will go forward.
Circuit Judge Knox McMahon on Tuesday rejected a request for a mistrial filed by Zinah Jennings' attorney.
Jennings is charged with illegal neglect of a child regarding her missing son.
She gave birth to a baby girl last week. McMahon said he would take more frequent breaks to give Jennings time to rest and recuperate from childbirth.
Amir Jennings was 18 months old when he was last seen around Thanksgiving. His mother has refused to tell police where he is but said she left him somewhere safe.
A high school friend testified last week that Jennings told her she was stressed by parenting and considered selling or giving away the boy.
Colin Bailey, an investigator with the Columbia Police Department, testified Tuesday.
Bailey says when he first interviewed Zinah Jennings she told him her son was with a man named Ernest Robinson who lived off of Garners Ferry Road. Investigators never found anyone that fit her description of Ernest Robinson.
On December 28, the day Zinah went to the police station and turned herself in, Bailey said they were supposed to meet for another interview, but Zinah did not show up.
After Zinah turned herself in, warrants were obtained and police discovered that she changed her phone number on December 1, 2011.
Videos were shown in the courtroom that ranged from December 5 through December 29. Zinah Jennings could be seen in all of the videos purchasing items with an Electronic Benefits Tranfer Card (EBT), which is the method South Carolina uses to issue Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Amir was not seen with Zinah in any of the videos. No one from the stores where she was using the card recalled Zinah being there, but she could be seen in the videos.
Bailey said when investigators questioned one of Zinah Jennings' cousins, they said that family members told authorities Amir was in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Social Services has no record of Zinah or Amir Jennings.
Before the end of the day Tuesday, Bailey read testimony from Zinah's interview on December 29.
Bailey said that Zinah told him, "I'll tell Amir in his face, he's not my son. I don't want him. I can't prove Amir is alive. I don't want to see him."
Bailey says the last time Amir was seen on video or by friends and family was on November 29, 2011.
(The Associated Press Contributed to this report.)