>Charged with child neglect in the drowning death of her two-year old son a year ago, the mother has announced a press conference to present her side
The young mother whose young child drowned in the Crooked River last year will hold a press conference early next month to talk about the tragic drowning.
   In making the announcement to hold a press conference, Melissa Baller, 20, and her attorney, John Hummel, say they will both make statements and answer questions. The press conference follows Baller's 1:15 p.m. court appearance where she reportedly will re-affirm to the court her desire to proceed to trial.
   Baller, gave this account of the fateful day in April: After working the swing shift at American Pine Products, Baller picked up her son, Christian, from the baby-sitter. She and the two-year old boy went home, read and played together. They then fell asleep in the same bed.
   All doors were closed and/or blocked with chairs because of the fear that Christian would wake before his mother as he had done before. Preparations included placing a heavy piece of countertop material against the sliding glass door and jamming the door track with a piece of wood used as a door jam. the lock on the door was broken.
   Baller later woke up and found the piece of countertop and the door jam removed ... the boy was not to be found. She immediately notified the police, her account states, and the search began.
   After a massive, three-week search involving local police, the FBI, other agencies and many volunteers, Christian's body was found in the river. Police officials concluded that after leaving his home on the morning of April 5, he ventured to the nearby banks of the river and was swept away.
   Eight months after the boy's death, the 20-year-old mother was charged with the crime of second degree child neglect. According to the announcement, Baller is 20 and has no prior criminal record. She had lost a previous child, Michael, at the age of one week to congenital kidney and heart problems.
   "Melissa is a grieving mother," the announcement states, "who is devastated by the loss of Christian and terrified by the prospect of proceeding to a jury trial. She is also, however, unwilling to plead guilty to being criminally responsible for the death of her child and will fight this injustice."
   The press conference will be held in the offices of Baller's attorney, 303 NW Third St. Suite 200 (directly across the street from the courthouse).
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