Mother of infant at center of Utah Amber Alert shares her story

SALT LAKE CITY – The day after an Amber Alert was issued in Salt Lake City for a newborn boy, the child’s mother is sharing her story.

The baby was found safe Friday night and the Amber Alert was canceled.

Meredith Woods, the infant's mother, said she has made mistakes and isn’t the perfect parent—and her baby Clifford was her second chance at being a mom.

“It’s horrible,” she said. “My world got ripped out of my arms.”

Friday is a day Meredith Woods will never forget. She said an Amber Alert for baby Clifford Philips was issued after she went to a final visit with her three other kids, who she has already surrendered into state custody.

“I decided to leave him at the babysitter's and go to the visit,” Woods said. “I went to my visit, and after my visit I was walking out the door and DCFS said they wanted my baby, and they started a case that day—like an hour before I got to my visit.”

The Amber Alert was announced just after 6 p.m. Friday. The alert said the child was taken by his father, Albert Phillips. But Woods claims Albert wasn’t involved.

“The baby was at the babysitter’s the whole time,” she said. “I went and met the babysitter, I got the baby in Kearns and went to show them: I’m OK, the baby is OK and we are all OK."

When she arrived at the police station with the child, Woods said the baby was taken away. In Friday night’s press briefing, police said they had adequate reason to take the child.

“All I know is that there was a danger that was enough that DCFS was able to get a warrant issued for custody of this child,” said Det. Richard Chipping of SLC PD.

Woods described the moment she gave the baby over into police custody.

“I walked up to the door, the cops were all there,” she said. “They said, ‘Put the baby on the sidewalk and turn around.’ They put me in handcuffs. They put the baby in the car to check him out.”

Woods said she must now wait to find out if she’ll ever get custody of Clifford.

“I finally got my crap together,” she said. “I have a place, I’m getting ready to start a job.”

Ashley Sumner, a spokesperson with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, said she can’t speak on the specifics of any individual case but said that any time they get a warrant to take a child it is approved by a judge and it’s an issue they never take lightly.

Salt Lake City Police confirmed the child was located with his mother Friday night. Detectives are determining if charges will be filed against either parent.