A 14-year-old girl is facing first-degree murder charges after police say she admitted to choking her newborn baby to death after giving birth to the child in her bathroom, according to the probable cause affidavit.
On September 22, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said they received a 911 call in regards to a full-term baby that had been located inside a shoebox with soiled clothing at the 14-year-old girl’s home, according to a Polk County Sheriff’s news release.
During an interview with authorities, the girl’s mother told them she was collecting dirty laundry from her daughter’s bedroom and “smelled a foul odor coming from a storage stool,” according to the affidavit. Inside the storage stool, the mother said she found a plastic bag containing wet clothing which she then placed in the kitchen sink so she could sort through the wet items, police said.
While sorting through the clothing, the girl’s mother told police she located a deceased baby among the items, according to the affidavit. In a panic, the mother told investigators she called her sister, who called 911.
“My niece had a miscarriage and was at the hospital Wednesday. They took all the information down,” the girl’s aunt told the 911 dispatcher. “My sister called me...She said they found the baby.”
Four days earlier, the girl’s mother told police she took her daughter to the emergency room after she “observed a lot of blood in and around the toilet area” immediately after her daughter used the bathroom, according to the affidavit. During the visit at the hospital, the girl admitted to her mother she had a miscarriage and flushed the fetus down the toilet without looking, police said the girl’s mother told them. Medical staff advised the mother that her 14-year-old daughter showed signs of a miscarriage, the affidavit states.
According to the affidavit, the teen girl’s mother told authorities that over the past five months family members expressed to her that her daughter may be pregnant. After noticing her daughter had gained weight, the mother said she confronted her daughter who assured her that she was not pregnant, police said. Two pregnancy tests given to her daughter gave no response which she interpreted as a negative result, the mother allegedly told investigators.
During an interview with authorities, the 14-year-old girl told them she began to feeling ill on September 17, according to the affidavit. Two days later, the girl told police she woke up feeling sick and went to the bathroom. Once sitting on the toilet, the girl stated to police she “felt an extreme amount of pressure and a sensation to ‘push.’”
Realizing she was delivering, the girl 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,” according to a sheriff’s news release. As the labor pains increased, the girl said she reached for a pair of scissors to “’pry’ the child out,’” police said in the affidavit.
After feeling for the child’s pulse—which was present—the girl “placed her hands around the neck of the child and choked it for approximately one minute, to stop the child from breathing,” police said the girl told them, according to the affidavit.
After choking the child, the girl told police she checked for a pulse again and found none, according to the affidavit. She then attempted to clean herself and the child and hid the dead child in her room, police said the girl told them.
Aware of possible alternatives—such as caring for the child and adoption—the girl told police she decided to “terminate the life of the child because she was afraid her relationship with her parents would change,” according to the affidavit. She said she wore “baggy, loose clothing in an attempt to hide her pregnancy from everyone,” police said the girl told them.
A medical examiner determined the 9.5 lb baby boy was alive and breathing prior to death, and suffered 32 contusions, hemorrhages and severe head trauma consistent with blunt force trauma, “which is consistent with the head being struck repeatedly by scissors,” according to the affidavit.
The 14-year-old girl was charged with premeditated first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. She is currently being held at the Polk County Juvenile Detention Facility.
The name of an attorney representing the 14-year-old girl would not be released due to the fact that she is considered a juvenile.
Brian Hass, a Florida assistant state attorney, told HLN they are reviewing the case and will be making a decision soon whether or not she will be tried as an adult.