A Brooklyn teen who bizarrely carted the corpse of her aborted baby around with her as she shoplifted may be facing far more serious charges than petty theft. Jennifer Peltz of the Associated Press reports that police now believe that the 6-month-old child discovered in a bag carried by 17-year-old Tiana Rodriguez was born alive and then asphyxiated. This contradicts the mother’s original claim that the infant was stillborn.
Despite an inconclusive autopsy, the NYPD said yesterday that they strongly suspect that Rodriguez gave birth to the baby at a friend's house and later murdered the infant by suffocation.
Rodriguez, who was taken to Bellevue Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, remained hospitalized Friday, but now under police supervision.
A security guard discovered the child's body in a shopping bag Rodriguez was toting Thursday as she and another 17-year-old girl, Francis Estevez, boosted lingerie from the racks at a Victoria's Secret store in midtown Manhattan. Both women were ultimately arrested on petit larceny charges. Rodriguez is now potentially faces murder charges as well.
A woman who tbe AP contacted by phone affirmed that she was Estevez's mother but refused to grant an interview, saying she hadn't spoken with her daughter since the girl’s arrest. It isn’t clear at this point whether either teen has a lawyer.
One of Rodriguez's neighbors, Zami Ford, told the Daily News that she was unaware of the teen's pregnancy and stunned by the allegations. "She's a good girl," Ford said. "I can't believe she would do that."
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