Caleigh Shea is adamant. She says she did not abandon her infant daughter on a Saint John sidewalk.

"I didn't leave her there,” says Shea. “I set her down to open the door so that I could bring all the kids in.”

The single mother of four says upon returning home from grocery shopping with her childrenshe put her baby carrier down beside her front door to usher the one and three year olds inside.

She says when she returned a second later, the baby was gone.

Shea says she panicked, and began to look for the baby inside and outside of her home.

She says she was about to call 911 until she found two women behind a hedge with her baby as police arrived at her home. 

Police say a neighbour heard the child crying and went outside, only to find the infant alone.

 Shea has been charged with failing to provide the necessities of life.

"Does she have faults, don't we all but overall I'd have to say she's really done well," says Shea’s mother, Sherry Jeffers.

Jeffers says her daughter is a very good parent and believes those who found the child are in the wrong.

"They took her from her doorstep,” explains Jeffers. “The inside door was open, Caleigh was just inside, why didn't they knock on the door.  If they were so concerned about her being in the cold, why didn't they take her into the warmth, but instead they hid behind some bushes and waited for police to come."

Shea says her children have not been taken from her and that she voluntarily sent all four to stay with family while police and the province investigate.

She says misinformed public opinion is proving hurtful, mostly to her oldest child.

"Me, myself, I can shrug it off, somebody wants to have an opinion about me, but the kids are the ones that end up getting all the, I guess, the hardest part of it.”  

The Saint John mother is hoping to have her children back as early as Monday.

She is due to appear in court to answer the charge against her in March.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Andy Campbell