And then hid the dead baby in a shoebox!
A Polk County girl is facing capital murder charges this week after deputies say she strangled her newborn to death shortly after delivering him in her bathroom toilet, officials said. The 14-year-old tried to conceal her pregnancy from beginning to end. She wore loose-fitting clothing, manipulated pregnancy tests and finally, delivered a baby in secret at her home. Three days later, the girl’s mother smelled something foul in her daughter’s bedroom and found the full-term infant dead in a shoe box among a pile of dirty and discarded laundry items.
Polk County Sheriff’s deputies were first alerted to the case Sept. 19 when the girl went to Lakeland Regional Medical Center for treatment for a purported miscarriage. She told her mother she had pain and accidentally flushed the fetus down the toilet. But when she talked to investigators, she confessed to having gone into full labor in the bathroom.
According to the sheriff’s report, she put a towel in her mouth and turned on the bathroom water to drown out any sounds she would make during delivery. The 5-foot-3, 100-pound girl delivered the the 9.5-pound, 20.4-inch baby boy into the toilet. She lifted the moving baby and saw he had a pulse. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the girl then squeezed his neck for about a minute until he was no longer breathing. The girl cleaned up the bathroom, the baby and herself before putting the dead child in a box, according to information provided by Donna Wood, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.
Deputies said the girl’s mother denied she was pregnant though relatives suspected otherwise due to the girl’s changing appearance. She wore sweat pants and sweat shirts throughout the summer months to hide her growing abdomen and walked around the home with a blanket around her, an arrest report said. Wanting to protect the teen’s privacy, the mother allowed her daughter to administer two pregnancy tests in private that resulted in negative readings.
The teen told investigators she killed the child because she was “afraid her relationship with her parents would change,” the arrest report said. An autopsy revealed the baby died of asphyxia from strangulation and blunt force trauma, officials said. The girl was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. She is being held at the Polk County Juvenile Detention Facility.