Navy: Arrest of AWOL sailor and new mother was 'last resort'

This Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 booking photo released by the Broward County Sheriff's Office shows Ana Lucia Gnecco in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Gnecco, a U.S. Navy sailor, is accused of deserting her post after having a baby in August. (Broward County Sheriff's Office via AP)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A 24-year-old U.S. Navy sailor who had a baby in August was arrested and remains on a military hold after being accused of deserting her post, court records show.

Ana Lucia Gnecco was arrested Wednesday at her parents' home in Hollywood, Florida, after failing to report on Jan. 14 to her base in Portsmouth, Virginia, where she is a seaman quartermaster and worked in the reception and medical support at the Naval Medical Center.

Her father, Armando Rodriguez, told the SunSentinel ( ) he didn't know she left the Navy earlier than she should have.

"She basically went AWOL; that's what the Navy is claiming," he told the newspaper.

The arrest was the last resort, said Christina Johnson, a Navy public affairs officer for the medical center. "She was in contact with her command and with the Navy's arm that would bring her back to duty. All efforts were made to get her back to work, but she chose to stay there."

When someone misses a return day by 30 days, "it's considered desertion," Johnson said.

She said she couldn't comment further and didn't know what discipline Gnecco might face.

Gnecco's father said the baby could be a reason his daughter didn't return to the post. "We could assume that having a baby might not go well with serving in the military."

Rodriguez is hoping the Navy will discharge her.

"I hope that she goes back up there and they have a hearing and she is released," he said. "There is no point in keeping her."

Rodriguez said that he and the rest of the family — including sisters and her mother — have helped with the baby. The child's father also lives in Broward County.

Gnecco had a more immediate problem on Thursday when she appeared before Broward County Judge Michael Davis for a bond hearing. She said she's breastfeeding her daughter and needed a breast pump.

She said she had spoken with a doctor at the jail and was told there was nothing they could do. Later, the judge told the newspaper his assistant bought a breast pump for $42.39 and gave it to Gnecco.


Information from: Sun Sentinel ,