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Shorewood girl faces hearing in death of newborn

Feb. 06, 2012
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By Crocker Stephenson of the Journal Sentinel

Feb. 06, 2012 0

A delinquency hearing will be held Feb. 20 for a 17-year-old Shorewood girl who investigators say gave birth to a boy in her bathtub and buried him in a flower bed beside her house, a judge ordered Monday.

The girl is charged in a delinquency petition with one count of concealing the death of a child.

According to the petition:

The girl told police that the infant was conceived in early winter of 2010, around the time of her 16th birthday. She said that although she did not gain weight or feel sick, she began to suspect she was pregnant in July 2011.

She said "she found it hard to move around," the petition says, "but was far too busy and didn't have time to worry about anything too much."

The girl, the petition says, did not see a doctor and did not take a pregnancy test.

She delivered the boy on Aug. 17, as she soaked in a tub to relieve severe back pain. She told authorities the birth was unexpected and that she was "in complete shock," the petition says.

The infant, the girl said, was blue and floated face up beneath the surface of the water. She cut the umbilical cord with a pair of scissors, she said, then placed the infant in a shoe box.

The girl told police she put the shoe box containing the boy in the bottom drawer of a nightstand beside her bed.

Then "she went back to the living room to watch television, trying to act as normal as possible," the petition says.

After about a week and a half, the smell became too strong, the girl said, so she placed the baby and the shoe box in several plastic bags and buried the bundle in a flower bed beside her house.

In September, the girl's mother noticed a foul smell coming from the garden and discovered the remains.

Because of decomposition, the medical examiner was unable to determine the infant's gestational age - sometime between 24 to 40 weeks, it's estimated - nor could it be determined if the infant was born alive or dead.

The girl told authorities that the baby did not appear to breathe, but she also told them that the boy's fingertips were moving.

Crocker Stephenson thumbnail
About Crocker Stephenson

Crocker Stephenson covers public health. He has won many regional and national awards for his stories concerning infant mortality, child welfare, poverty, urban life and welfare reform.

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