Bargersville woman sentenced in Florida child neglect case

A Bargersville woman has been sentenced to 55 days in jail after she plead no contest to leaving her child in the back of a van with dirty conditions in December in Florida.

Amanda N. Germana, 26, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor to a judge in Volusia County, Florida on May 25. She was sentenced to 55 days in jail, with a 55-day jail credit, and was given 12 months on probation. She was also ordered to pay $374 in court fees, according to online court records.

She was originally charged with child neglect, a third-degree felony, in December. Prosecutors later reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in January, according to online court records.

Amanda Germana was arrested in December along with her husband, Lincoln T. Germana, 28, in December after the couple was reported missing in Johnson County.

On Dec. 13, a relative of Lincoln Germana called police and said she had not heard from them for a few days. The relative, a Greenwood resident, told police a relative of Amanda Germana had been watching Amanda and Lincoln Germana’s daughter for several days and was concerned about their absence, according to a Greenwood Police Department report.

The relative told police the couple was last seen in person on Dec. 3, and had texted on Dec. 10 they were in Tennessee and heading back to Indiana, but they never showed up. When the couple was last seen, they had an unidentified infant with them. Amanda German told the relative she was taking care of the infant for an unidentified mother, and she was planning to give it back soon, the report shows.

Three days after the couple were reported missing, officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received a call from police in Johnson County saying they had tracked a cell phone believed to belong to the Germanas at DeLeon Springs State Park. When officers arrived, they found a stolen rental van in the area. They watched the van and requested assistance from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, according to a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office report.

Greenwood police told Florida officers the couple had an infant with them, and said they were unable to determine whose baby it was and where they got the infant, according to the report.

Deputies and officers continued to watch the van for several minutes before Amanda and Lincoln Germana were spotted. Once the couple made it to the van, police performed a felony stop and arrested the couple. Inside the van, they found an infant in a car seat in the back cargo area of the van. Police say the car seat was attached to the side of the vehicle with a bungee cord, a setup which was deemed “extremely unsafe,” the report shows.

The stolen van also had a foul smell coming from it due to an “overwhelming amount” of unwashed clothing and dirty diapers. There were several poorly secured items, including large flashlights, hanging above the car seat. The infant was separated from the driver’s and passenger’s seat at the front of the vehicle by a large metal divider, which meant the drivers could not access the child in an emergency, according to the report.

After the Germanas were taken into custody, Florida police contacted local police and found an Indiana license plate attached to the van which belonged to a completely different van. The correct license plate — also from Indiana — was found inside the van, and it appeared some of the decals on the tag were scraped off, the report shows.

The baby was medically cleared by emergency medical personnel and emergency custody of the infant was given to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), according to the report.

Both Amanda and Lincoln Germana refused to speak with police after their arrests, but Amanda did tell police the child was not hers. The couple also gave two different names for the baby, the report shows.

The infant was later given a DNA test, and results showed both Amanda and Lincoln Germana were the parents. The child was placed into Florida DCF custody pending an investigation, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Andrew Gant said in December. DCF was not able to respond to a request on the infant’s current status before deadline on Friday afternoon.

After Lincoln Germana’s arrest, he was charged with child neglect and grand theft auto, both third-degree felonies. However, the child neglect charge was reduced to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in January, and the theft charge was dropped entirely, online court records show.

His next hearing is set for July 5.