Florida teen, 14, charged in infant son''s death; remains found in shoebox in her room

Sheriff: Girl hid pregnancy from parents

LAKELAND, Fla. - A 14-year-old Florida girl is facing murder charges after authorities say she admitted to killing her newborn son and placing the body in a shoebox.

On September 19, deputies and members of the Department of Children and Families were called to Lakeland Regional Medical Center after staff members said they had treated a 14-year-old for what appeared to be a miscarriage, WFTS reported.

The information was passed on to the Polk County Sheriff's Office Bureau of Criminal Investigations for follow-up, according to a sheriff's statement.

On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Sheriff's Office received a call that the body of a full-term baby had been found in a shoe box at the girl's home.

The gruesome discovery was made by the girl's mother who smelled an odor while gathering dirty laundry in the girl's bedroom.

Homicide detectives went to the home and questioned the girl.  She told them that she became ill the morning of Sept. 19 and went into labor in the bathroom.

"As the pain of labor increased, (the girl) took a pair of scissors to 'pry the baby out.' The infant, a 9.5 pound, 20.4 inch boy, delivered alive and into the toilet,"  said Sheriff Grady Judd during Friday's news conference. "She took the baby from the toilet, checked it for a pulse and it was moving, and then she choked it to death." 

She  then began to clean up the bathroom, bathing herself and the dead infant before placing him in a shoebox along with soiled towels and clothing, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Authorities say the girl went to great lengths to try and hide the pregnancy by wearing baggy clothing. During labor, she told detectives she bit into a towel so she wouldn't make any noises that would alert her mother who was at home at the time.

"We talked to the mother and the mother was in absolute total denial," said Judd.

During an autopsy, it was determined the infant was alive and breathing when he was born. The cause of death was determined to be strangulation and blunt force trauma.

The 14-year-old girl, who is not being identified, is currently at a juvenile detention center facing charges of Premeditated First Degree Murder, a capital felony and Aggravated Child Abuse, a first degree felony.

News of her arrest quickly spread Friday at Kathleen High School where she attended.

"A lot of people are disturbed by this, I was shocked myself to hear about it and everything. It was really shocking," said Malcolm Reid, a student who said he didn't know the girl.

Sheriff Judd said it's possible the girl's mother could also face charges for neglect. Since the girl is under 16, the father of the baby boy may also be in trouble too.

"Everybody is a loser here. But this 14-year-old child murdered her infant baby which she successfully delivered at home," Judd said.

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