A Black single mother serving in the Army faces charges for failing to report to duty after she said she needed to watch her young son instead.

The Army filed charges on January 13 against Spc. Alexis Hutchinson, a 21-year-old Army cook from California, for missing a flight to Afghanistan, including being absent without leave, dereliction of duty and insubordinate conduct.

Hutchinson said she did not have anyone to watch her one-year-old son if she had deployed on November 5. She could receive up to two years in prison and a dishonorable discharge if she is convicted in a court-martial. However, an officer must first be appointed to decide if enough evidence exists to bring a case against her.

Hutchinson originally said her mother was going to keep the baby while she was deployed overseas for one year. But after Hutchinson’s mother, Angelique Hughes, watched her infant grandson for two weeks prior to her daughter’s deployment date, she realized the responsibility combined with other commitments would be too much for her to handle. With no other family members to count on, Hutchinson skipped the flight.

“She didn’t do her duty,” Kevin Larson, an Army spokesman, said. “They know their deployment dates. They have to show up. Otherwise, they have to face the consequences.”?

Hutchinson’s attorney, Rai Sue Sussman, hoped to settle the case without a military trial, as Hutchinson’s only reason for not deploying was fear of what would happen to her child.

“There are other routes if they really want to punish her,” Sussman said.