Teen mother accused of trying to kill baby staying in detention
ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - A Roanoke Circuit Court judge has ordered a psychiatric evaluation for a 14-year-old girl accused of trying to kill her baby, before he'll consider letting her out of juvenile detention. The judge said he doesn't think the girl is a threat to the public, but may be a threat to herself.
Investigators say the girl was full term when she gave birth to a boy on the morning of January 5 at her grandfather's home on Harrison Avenue. The Commonwealth's Attorney says the mother texted two friends at Patrick Henry High School a picture of the baby the morning she gave birth. The girls showed the picture to a school resource officer, telling the officer the mother previously told them she planned to kill the baby or throw it away. The SRO contacted the detective division. A detective testified the mother texted her friends telling them to delete the picture when she learned police were on the way to the house.
Just before 9:30 a.m., officers arrived at the home. In the first 20 minutes of audio from Ofc. V.N. Saunders' body camera, you hear the teen mother deny giving birth or having been pregnant. The officer pleads with the girl, asking her if she understands they have limited time to keep a baby alive if it's not at the hospital.
Sgt. S.B. Camp confronted the girl about the texts.
"There's a picture of a baby with that bathroom floor and that rug behind it," said Sgt. S.B. Camp. "You better start telling the truth now! Stop lying and tell us what you did with the child!"
Saunders heard a noise and asked if the family has pets. They said they do not. The sound of crying was coming for upstairs. She found the baby and called down for help.
"Sgt. Camp! Sgt. Camp! Oh my gosh, get rescue up here," said Saunders. "Move! Move! Move out of the way! Oh my gosh!"
The Commonwealth's Attorney said the officer had to push the mother out of the way to get to the baby boy. He was completely wrapped in a towel, stuffed in a box, according to the prosecutor.
A detective testified the baby was having a seizure when he was admitted to the hospital. His body temperature was 83 degrees. The infant has permanent brain damage, from a brain bleed of oxygen deprivation, but doctors won't know how bad it is until he's older. The baby is in foster care, after 12 days in the pediatric ICU at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
The girl's grandfather testified at the bond hearing that he and his wife did not know the girl was pregnant. He said he had previously told her that if she got pregnant he would kick her out of the house. The grandfather said the girl woke him and his wife up around 2 a.m., crying and complaining of cramps. He said his wife gave the girl Advil and was up with her all night. The girl tested positive for opiates at the hospital later that day. The defense claims she'd taken one of her grandfather's morphine pills for pain while she was in labor.
The defense told the judge the girl wanted the baby and had planned to leave him at a friend's house and watch him on the weekends. Her attorney said the girl is also a victim of statutory, if not forcible, rape. The mother believes the baby's father is 22 years old. Roanoke detectives are still trying to identify the father. They said if he's an adult, he will be charged.
The mother was on probation for making bomb threats at Breckenridge Middle School when she was arrested for attempted murder, aggravated malicious wounding and child neglect. She was also previously in the juvenile court system for stealing a car.
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