'Cabin baby' fugitive back in Jeffco custody

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By Stephen Knapp

Summer’s finally over for Summer Lynn Baker, who appeared in court on Monday, Sept. 8, for the first time since dropping off law-enforcement’s radar more than two months ago.

In June, after accepting a deal allowing her to plead guilty to a single felony theft charge relating to the 2007 robbery and torching of the Evergreen Meadows home of John Stuckless and Cathie Messa, the 24-year-old “cabin baby” mom effectively disappeared. Besides failing to comply with the conditions of her then-$1,000 bond, which included regular parole meetings and drug tests, Baker was a no-show for her Aug. 21 sentencing, leading many to wonder when — or if — she’d wind up behind bars.

As luck would have it, authorities picked up Baker less than a week later in Littleton, where she’d been living with a new boyfriend, enjoying a new circle of friends, working on her largely fictional MySpace page, and sporting a new Goth persona complete with an edgy black-and-red hairdo. Already facing a possible six-year sentence for theft, Baker now faces an additional consecutive penalty for failing to appear for sentencing.

At Monday’s advisement hearing, District Judge Lily Oeffler reset Baker’s sentencing for 10 a.m. Oct. 10. She also continued the $25,000 cash-only bond she imposed on Aug. 21.

In pronouncing judgment on Baker, Oeffler will doubtless give due consideration to statements from the Stuckless family, who’ve been waiting for a chance to speak their pieces for nearly a year. She’ll also get to contemplate a written statement provided by Baker’s sister-in-law, Brandy Hollimon.

In her open letter to the court, Hollimon alleges first-hand knowledge of numerous crimes committed by Baker and her boyfriend, Gregory Leon, dating to 2001. Hollimon alleges that more recently Baker has been tearfully seeking money from out-of-state relatives with an elaborate tale in which her and Leon’s 2-year-old son, Manny, dies in a car wreck in Illinois. According to the story, the little boy was thrown through the windshield and critically injured, clinging to life just long enough to “say goodbye to his mommy.” Hollimon’s account of that deception is supported by statements Baker posted on her MySpace site.

Fortunately, both Manny and his sister, 1-year-old “cabin baby” Grace, are alive and well and living in foster care in Clear Creek County, and have been since Baker and Leon were stripped of all parental rights in October 2007. Ironically, both Hollimon and John Stuckless suspect that alleged scam may be what landed Baker back in Jeffco’s custody.

“It’s looking like a family member ee may have read about her in the paper and called the Littleton police with the address they sent the money to,” John Stuckless says.