Father of newborn left in hospital trash speaks out, shares disappointment in Hautzenrader verdict

He says son, daughter doing well in his care

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IOWA CITY — The father of the newborn — left by his mother in a trash can at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics last year — said he is “incredibly disappointed” that the baby’s mother, who left his son “for dead,” will not serve prison time.

Brandon Addison, 27, of Davenport is the former boyfriend of Ashley Hautzenrader, 24, and father of their children, 16-month-old Matthew James and Ahnna Lily Addison, who turns 3 later this month.

He said Tuesday he wasn’t aware that Hautzenrader suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time she gave birth to Matthew on May 8, 2016, in a restroom at the hospital’s John Colloton Pavillion. She tried flushing him down a toilet and then placed him in a pillowcase and left him in a restroom trash bin.

Hautzenrader was sentenced to probation on Friday.

In talking to The Gazette on Tuesday, Addison said he wanted to introduce Matthew and Ahnna to the community so people who have read about Hautzenrader’s case would know the children are happy and thriving in his care.

Addison said Ahnna’s health has “greatly improved” over the last year and that she and Matthew are learning from each other and have become a “great team.”

“I am very happy and grateful they are here with me,” Addison added.

“At the end of the day, I am happy that the University of Iowa Hospitals found my baby boy and saved his life,” he said in a Facebook post.

Hautzenrader, originally charged with attempted murder, pleaded guilty to neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, a felony, and child endangerment, an aggravated misdemeanor.

She faced up to 12 years in probation, but 6th Judicial District Judge Marsha Bergan, in a Friday hearing in Johnson County District Court, ordered five years probation after a psychiatrist testified Hautzenrader had PTSD from dealing with her daughter Ahnna’s severe medical condition and was in “pregnancy denial” of Matthew.

If Hautzenrader violates conditions of her probation, she would face the 12-year sentence. She also was fined $1,625. A no-contact order prohibits her from having any contact with Matthew for five years.

Court documents show Hautzenrader’s parental rights have been terminated, and Addison has custody of Matthew and Ahnna.

Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said Tuesday there was testimony about Ahnna’s health issues and that when Matthew was born, Hautzenrader was at the hospital where Ahnna was being moved from pediatrics to the intensive care unit. Ahnna has severe health issues, including heart problems that required a heart transplant, Lyness said.

Lyness said she wasn’t aware of Hautzenrader’s mental health evaluation until Friday morning, but the judge allowed the testimony.

Bergan said during the hearing she had been inclined to order prison time for Hautzenrader until she heard testimony from Dr. Cara Angelotta, instructor of psychiatry and behavior sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

Addison confirmed his daughter, Ahnna, has health issues and continues to have many doctor appointments and therapy sessions. But, he said, it’s “your job as a parent to step up and make sure they are safe and protected at all cost.”

Addison said Tuesday he hopes other parents don’t see the trial’s outcome “as an easy way out,” if they, too, don’t want a child.

He encouraged parents to learn about Iowa’s Safe Haven law, in which a parent can turn over a newborn to a hospital, no questions asked, and the baby will be cared for and placed in a temporary or permanent home.

If anyone is interested in helping the Addison children, a fund has been set up at Gofundme.com/matthewahnna.

l Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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