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Springfield Gdns. foster mother indicted in girl dump

A Springfield Gardens foster mother accused of dumping the body of a severely disabled 9-year-old girl who was in her care was formally indicted in Manhattan on misdemeanor charges last week, a spokeswoman for the district attorney said.

The indictment handed down Monday charges Renee Johnson, 50, with illegally disposing of a body and falsely reporting a kidnapping after she admitted to wrapping the remains of Stephanie Ramos in a garbage bag and dropping her in a pile of refuse on a Manhattan street last month, said Barbara Thompson, spokeswoman for Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau.

Johnson was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Aug. 18 and she could face a year in jail if convicted, Thompson said.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown is considering bringing charges against Johnson pending the results of the girl's autopsy, a spokesman for Brown said. Johnson may also be charged with child endangerment for her treatment of Stephanie and two other children placed in her care, the spokesman said. The Queens DA's investigation is continuing and initial autopsy reports were inconclusive, the spokesman said.

Stephanie, 9, was found in a plastic garbage bag in a Bronx waste transfer station July 9, a day after Johnson told police the girl was missing.

Stephanie, who suffered from cerebral palsy and could not walk, talk or see, was believed to have died at Johnson's home at 146-39 220th St. in Springfield Gardens July 8, but how she died was still not known Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the city's medical examiner said.

Johnson first reported the girl missing when she brought two other foster children in her care to visit their biological father in Manhattan. She later told police that she panicked when Stephanie died and placed her body in the garbage, a criminal complaint from the Manhattan district attorney said.

Prosecutors on the case accused the woman of letting her home fall into squalor, with human waste and garbage covering the floor, but the Administration for Children's Services, which oversaw the foster program, disputed that.

Johnson is being held in jail in lieu of $50,000 bail that was set at her initial arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court in July, Thompson said.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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