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Woman accused of endangering ailing son by fleeing Pa.

Boston Children's Hospital.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

The mother who triggered an Amber Alert after she allegedly fled Pennsylvania with her seriously ill infant son was arrested early Saturday at Boston Children’s Hospital, according to Boston police.

Tiffany Cherry, 36, who has family in the area, allegedly ignored the advice of a nurse practitioner at the Geisinger Kistler Clinic in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Friday, when she was told that her 2-month-old son, Quavai, was in need of emergency medical care.

“The child was severely dehydrated,” Officer Kyle Shumosic of the Pittston Police Department said in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon.

The nurse practitioner at the clinic instructed Cherry to take her son to the emergency department at the nearby Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Shumosic said.


Instead, Cherry drove more than five hours to Boston, with her ailing son and a dog in the back seat, to have her son treated at Children’s Hospital.

“She was advised that her child should be admitted to an ER, so she took the child to Boston Children’s Hospital ER,” said Officer Rachel McGuire, a Boston police spokeswoman.

Cherry was arrested around 2:15 a.m., after a nurse at the hospital called police to report that they had just admitted Quavai Cherry, whose name the nurse recognized from the Amber Alert that was issued Friday, according to Boston and State Police.

A spokeswoman for Boston Children’s Hospital would not comment Saturday.

Cherry, who gave police an address in Waltham, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Roxbury Municipal Court on a charge of being a fugitive from justice on two warrants issued out of Pittston, Pa., after she failed to take her son to the hospital there, according to the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

She also will be arraigned on charges stemming from warrants issued in 2002 and 2010 related to prostitution and motor vehicle violations in Dorchester and Somerville, according to Boston police.


Cherry was charged with sexual misconduct for a fee in 2002 in Boston and in 2010 in Somerville. In 2010, Cherry was charged with multiple motor vehicle violations, including speeding and driving without a license in Dorchester, according to the Boston police report.

Cherry’s infant son has been placed in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families, a spokeswoman said.

“The department is investigating the incident with law enforcement, and as DCF officials look into the matter, custody of the child has been transferred to DCF,” a spokeswoman, Andrea Grossman, said in a statement.

A Chelsea woman reached by phone Saturday identified herself as Cherry’s sister but did not comment.

Cherry’s decision to drive to Boston touched off a multistate Amber Alert, a national emergency response system for missing children.

Pittston police Friday received a call from a nurse practitioner at Geisinger Kistler that Cherry did not take her child to the emergency room, Shumosic said.

Police went to Cherry’s home in Pittston but did not find her there, he said.

Pittston police issued two warrants for Cherry’s arrest, on a charge of child endangerment and endangerment to another person, Shumosic said.

Geisinger hospital officials also notified Pennsylvania child welfare officials that Cherry “failed to arrive at the hospital with her seriously ill child,” a hospital spokeswoman said in a statement issued Saturday.

Pittston police tracked Cherry’s cellphone as she drove north on Interstate 84 in a 2004 Dodge Intrepid with New Hampshire license plates.


“There were alerts out all the way, until she was actually found in Boston,” Shumosic said.

Shumosic declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation.

The charges follow several criminal cases against Cherry in Pennsylvania.

On Feb. 24, Cherry was charged with five motor vehicle violations in Luzerne County and pleaded guilty to driving an unregistered vehicle, driving without a license, and moving violations, court records show.

In September, Cherry was charged with throwing her trash into the dumpster of a public housing complex in Pittston, according to online court records that were confirmed by Shumosic of the Pittston police.


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Kathy McCabe can be reached at katherine.mccabe
. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.