Botched home birth may have killed Franklin County teen’s newborn

akenney@newsobserver.comJuly 11, 2014 

— A newborn baby found in a shallow grave last month appears to have died from blood loss, and authorities have not determined yet whether anyone will be charged with a crime in her death, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

Preliminary autopsy results showed that someone may have cut the umbilical cord too close to the baby girl, then failed to stop the infant’s bleeding, according to Sheriff Jerry Jones.

Jones suspects the baby was born to a 16-year-old mother in a suburban home on June 29. The suspected father is 18 years old, Jones said. Their names have not been made public.

The case is now in the hands of the district attorney.

“I agree it could have been an accident,” Jones said, “but … she had ample time to do some type of planning to prevent this – plan a way to give the child up, to keep this from happening.”

The infant girl apparently was born healthy at 8.5 pounds and 30 inches, he said.

The district attorney’s office “is studying some case history. They are now in direct contact with the medical examiner’s office,” Jones said. “Nothing has come together as quick as we thought it was.”

The district attorney’s office may be waiting for a final medical examiner’s report, he said.

District Attorney Sam Currin wasn’t available for comment Friday.

Sheriff’s deputies discovered the newborn girl buried in a bag on a Sunday night, according to Jones.

A person who had heard “third-hand” about the baby’s birth alerted Louisburg police about 7:30 p.m. that day, Jones said. The person told police he had heard that an acquaintance had received a text message about a concealed birth, according to Jones.

“He said, ‘If I don’t tell somebody, I can’t live with myself,’ ” Jones said.

The police contacted sheriff’s deputies, who followed the tip to a home in a subdivision, where they’d been told they might find a teenager who had given birth recently.

Deputies didn’t find the 16-year-old girl, and her father told them it seemed to be a “sick prank,” Jones said. The deputies left the house and asked a series of other people about the case over the next several hours.

At 10 p.m., the teen’s father called deputies.

“He said he put a lot of thought into what we said and he had found what we were looking for,” Jones said.

The man had found one of his yard tools and a freshly tilled patch in the yard beside his house, Jones said.

Kenney: 919-829-4870; Twitter: @KenneyNC

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