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Warrant for father of ‘Baby Justice’ issued after no-show in drug case

Frank Rees, is arraigned on traffic charges in Woodland on March 4. He missed two straight court dates on drug and ammunition charges in the past month and now has a warrant out for his arrest.
Frank Rees, is arraigned on traffic charges in Woodland on March 4. He missed two straight court dates on drug and ammunition charges in the past month and now has a warrant out for his arrest. Sacramento Bee file

The father of Justice Rees, the Woodland newborn found dead along a Knights Landing-area slough in February, has a warrant out for his arrest after twice failing to appear in court in an unrelated ammunition and drug-possession case.

Frank Talliesen Rees, 29, was convicted in September in Yolo Superior Court on charges of possessing ammunition by a person prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, possessing a controlled substance and possessing drug paraphernalia. The charges stemmed from a March arrest following a search of his Woodland home by authorities in the weeks after his son’s death.

Rees was to appear Nov. 16 in Yolo Superior Court to show proof he had enrolled in a drug-treatment program as a condition of the plea. When he failed to show, a second date was set for Monday with the admonition that a $10,000 bench warrant would be issued if he did not appear. Rees also missed that appearance, according to Yolo County district attorney’s officials.

Rees’ fiancée, Samantha Lee Green, will stand trial in April on suspicion of murder in the death of their child, 19-day-old Justice Rees, whose body was found by searchers Feb. 25 in Rough Cut Slough near Knights Landing, nearly a day after the baby and mother were reported missing by family members.

According to testimony at Green’s preliminary hearing last month, Green and Rees had argued at a Woodland gas station Feb. 24 over Rees’ plans for the couple to meet a female friend in Knights Landing for a sexual encounter. Rees left for Knights Landing alone. Green went back to their home, then bundled up young Justice and drove to Knights Landing to search for Rees.

Investigators testified Green told them she wandered onto a levee road with her baby, then into the slough on the night of Feb. 24 where she passed out next to her child. The child was not moving when Green awoke, she said.

The next day, Feb. 25, a homeowner spotted Green screaming for help from a levee road near Rough Cut Slough. In recorded interviews with police played during the hearing, Green said she scrambled through heavy brush, then swam across the slough to find help for her child.

Green’s attorneys say she had no intention of killing her child, but prosecutors say a murder charge is justified because she placed the child in harm’s way.

Darrell Smith: 916-321-1040, @dvaughnsmith

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