Missing Altamonte Springs mom reveals why she took off with baby

 A massive manhunt for Jessica McCreery and her baby Penelope Hogarth is over.

 The two are back in Seminole County and McCreery had her first review hearing this morning concerning the care of her daughter.

 "We had been in ongoing contact with law enforcement and the Sheriff's Office and decided to come back once we realized they wanted us back," said Mark O'Mara, McCreery's attorney.

 Baby Penelope is now under protective care of medical professionals.

 "Some of the medical tests show she is underweight. So we are looking at nutritional issues. There are no other medical issues that they've identified yet but when or if they do, we'll take care of it," O'Mara said.

 During the hearing, McCreery learned she could go be with her daughter while the baby's under protective care - something O'Mara said isn't typical.

 "Even in a stressful situation she was doing a good job so they are going to allow that to continue which is really primary that the mother stays with the baby," O'Mara said.

 "I love Penelope and I just want a happy, healthy baby and I'm gonna do everything in my power to get her back to me," McCreery said.

 When asked why she took off in the first place, McCreery said she feared Child Protective Services would take Penelope away after they visited her home earlier this month.

 "I was just very nervous and apprehensive and automatically on the defensive and I did overreact," McCreery said.

 The investigation started May 5th - when Altamonte Springs Police and CPS conducted a welfare check.

 When they went back to the house this past Tuesday, mom and baby were gone.

 Police arrested the baby's father David Hogarth after discovering a marijuana grow operation in the home.

 When questioned about McCreery and Penelope's whereabouts, police say Hogarth made concering statements like "you'll never find them."

 "That was probably the stupidest thing that could've been said at a time when law enforcement's trying to document that a child is healthy and we start wasting resources. Thank God there wasn't somebody else that had to be looked for at the same time they were looking for Penelope and Jess when they didn't need to," O'Mara said.

 Another review hearing for McCreery's case will be held Tuesday.


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