A dead baby found in a shopping bag has led New York police to suspect a teenager — caught allegedly shoplifting at a Victoria’s Secret — of killing the newborn. Although the medical examiner’s findings were inconclusive, pending further tests, police believe Police believe 17-year-old Tiana Rodriguez gave birth to the baby at a friend’s house, then later asphyxiated the infant.
The Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News) Oct. 18 that Rodriguez was stopped at the popular lingerie store Victoria’s Secret in Manhattan on Thursday when a security guard, suspicious of the activities of Rodriguez and a friend ( 17-year-old Francis Estevez), asked to search their shopping bags. The security guard’s suspicions were confirmed and both teens were later arrested for shoplifting, but Rodriguez’s bag held something more shocking than unpaid-for lingerie; a newborn baby was also discovered in the bag.
Tiana Rodriguez told New York detectives that she was carrying the remains of the child because she didn’t know what to do with them. She explained that she’d given birth the day before.
Most details concerning the dead baby, however, are unclear. A case in point: Neighbors of Rodriguez questioned about the matter said they had no idea the teen was pregnant. The mother seems to be reluctant to talk, telling the Associated Press only that she was Rodriguez’s mother and that she hadn’t talked with her daughter since her arrest.
Rodriguez was taken to the hospital following her arrest and remained hospitalized through Friday.
So how did a newborn baby ultimately end up dead in a shopping bag? Tiana Rodriquez’s story has become a somewhat familiar one over the years, where teens — and sometimes older women — who are pregnant either decide to hide their pregnancy or, in some bizarre act of denial or simple ignorance, don’t even realize they’re carrying a child. After giving birth, some resort to homicide and some see their newborns die for various reasons. Then fear of getting caught with a dead child, purposely killed or not, exacerbates the young mother’s situation, often leading to ill-chosen decisions with regard to dealing with the remains.
In late July, according to KCTV in Kansas City , a newborn was found in a Kansas City trash truck. However, authorities had no way to determine where along the route the child may have been picked up by the collectors. Believed to be a premature birth, police believe that they may never know who the mother might be.
In early September, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department reported finding the dead body of a baby boy in a trash can in South El Monte after a woman showed up at a hospital seeking medical treatment. Bleeding heavily, detectives were called and, according to KABC-TV in Los Angeles , the woman broke down and told them that she had just given birth. The infant’s lifeless body was retrieved; however, the mother was not suspected of a crime at the time.
The day after the gruesome discovery of the dead baby in Tiana Rodriguez’s shopping bag, a Canadian woman was sentenced to two years probation and counseling for neglecting to obtain assistance in child birth and concealing the body of a child. CBCNews reported that police, upon being alerted that a teen had given birth and disposed of the dead baby via trash pick-up, had searched a Saskatoon landfill in late October 2010 for seven days before finding a plastic container holding the dead body of a newborn child. The woman was 17 years old at the time of the incident.