Deputies: 14-Year-Old Girl Charged with Murdering Newborn Son
A 14-year-old girl was arrested and charged with homicide in the death of her newborn son, Polk County deputies say.
Investigators say, a call was received on Saturday from a home in Lakeland, advising that a full term baby had been located inside a shoebox with soiled clothing.
The teen’s mother told investigators she had been collecting dirty laundry when she smelled an odor coming from her daughter’s room. She collected the soiled items from the room and that’s when she found the deceased newborn among the laundry items.
When questioned by investigators, the 14-year-old girl confessed to giving birth to a baby boy on Wednesday, September 19. She told investigators that she began to feel ill on Monday, September 17 and that the discomfiture continued through to Wednesday. The teen then went to the bathroom and went into labor. She also told investigators she placed a towel in her mouth and turned on the bathroom water to conceal any noise she might make during the delivery.
The teen explained that, as her labor pains increased, she took a pair of scissors to “pry the baby out” and delivered a 9.5 pound, 20.4 inch boy, alive, into the toilet. The baby had a pulse, the girl told detectives, but she then placed her hands around the infant’s neck and squeezed until he wasn’t moving or breathing any longer.
Autopsy results confirmed that the baby was a full term infant and was alive and breathing prior to his death. The medical examiner has indicated that the baby’s died as a result of asphyxia from strangulation and blunt force trauma.
The teen confessed to deputies that, she choked the baby to “stop him from breathing.” Deputies learned that the teen began to clean up the bathroom and bathed herself and the dead infant before placing him in a shoebox along with soiled towels and clothing.
Detectives learned that, the teen, who weighs 100 pounds and is approximately 5’3” tall, had been attempting to conceal her pregnancy from her family by wearing baggy clothing for the past several months.
Family members who suspected the teen was pregnant tried unsuccessfully to counsel the teen’s mother, but she denied that her daughter was expecting. She told them that, two home pregnancy tests were administered and showed no positive results. Deputies say, the tests were conducted by the teen, alone and in private, with no parent present in the room, because the mother wanted to protect her daughter’s privacy.
Deputies charged the teen with premeditated first degree murder and aggravated child abuse on Thursday. She was medically screened and cleared prior to being arrested and transported initially to the Juvenile Assessment Center, then transferred to the Polk County Juvenile Detention Facility.
It is not clear whether the teen would be charged as an adult.