Police arrest girl, 13, after finding baby buried in box
by Lindsay Field and John Roach
lfield@mdjonline.com, jroach@mdjonline.com
December 15, 2012 12:31 AM | 7321 views | 9 9 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MABLETON — Cobb Police don’t believe a newborn whose body was found in a shoebox in a Mableton apartment complex was stillborn.

Police are investigating the death of the hours-old newborn who was found Wednesday in a wooded area in the back of the Sierra Forest Apartment complex in the 6600 block of Mableton Parkway in Mableton around 4:15 p.m.

The mother, a 13-year-old girl, was arrested Thursday on charges of felony murder, cruelty to children in the first degree and concealing a death.

A preliminary autopsy revealed no signs of trauma on the newborn, but a cause of death won’t be determined until a medical examiner performs a full autopsy.

According to police, the teenager gave birth to the child in her home while her parents slept in the next room late Wednesday night and went to sleep. When she awoke hours later, she discovered the baby had died. Some time later, the baby was put in a shoebox in a wooded area in the back of the apartment complex.

A friend of the newborn’s parents told administrators at the school they attended the burial. The administrators reported the story to campus police, who contacted Cobb Police.

Cobb Police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce wouldn’t identify the school the parents attended, but said everyone involved followed protocol in the matter.

He said the teenager is facing a murder charge because she didn’t provide care or seek help for the newborn.

“Because the mother failed to get it properly nourished or get it help, the child didn’t have an opportunity to thrive,” Pierce said.

If the mother had notified authorities about the baby’s death, she would not necessarily be facing charges, Pierce said.

“There are places where we can put that infant where it will be raised by the state or a foster family … but you cannot fail to report the death of another human being,” Pierce said.

State Rep. Judy Manning (R-Marietta) said situations like this one are why she supported the Safe Place for Newborns Act, also called the Safe Haven Law, that went into effect in 2002 in Georgia.

“It’s never that mothers don’t want the baby,” she said. “They aren’t criminals, they are just in a situation where there is no alternative. It is not abandonment, but saving the life of a child.”

The law allows the mother, father, family or friend of a child to take a newborn to a medical facility and turn the child over without recourse.

“At that time, the staff person should ask for the mother’s and father’s names, but they are not obligated to give that information if they don’t want to,” Manning said. “The intent is to place these children in homes where people want them so that they are up for adoption.”

The Department of Family and Children Services is typically responsible for taking the child into custody within 24 hours.

“This is for people who find themselves in a situation that they just cannot cope and, rather than leave a child in a Dumpster or in a shoebox or wherever, it’s an opportunity to place the child in the hands of caring family,” Manning said. “It is meant to be something that is positive and helpful to these children who for no fault of their own are put in a bad situation.”

Doug Goodwin, a Cobb Schools spokesman, said information about the law is not part of the state curriculum in the public school’s Human Growth and Development class and therefore was not part of the lesson.

DFCS spokesperson Jackie Tate said 153 children were reported under the Safe Haven Law in Georgia between Jan. 1, 2003, and Oct. 17 of this year.

Tate was unable to provide the exact number of children reported in Cobb before press time Friday.

Iesha Morris, a mother of two who has lived at the south Cobb apartment complex for about a year, said she didn’t know the teenager but said she’s heard rumors about the incident.

Morris said she learned about it Wednesday night between 6 and 7 p.m. when she saw police officers searching the neighborhood.

“At first I thought they were searching for somebody, like someone took off running from the cops,” she said. “I didn’t ask any questions. They were just walking around looking and asked how I was doing.”

Morris said there were approximately eight officers canvassing the complex. No other residents answered their doors Friday afternoon.

Morris said she was surprised by the news of the infant death.

“I would have never thought that would happen over here. I was shocked,” she said. “I love my kids, I love kids in general, so that was a shock.”
Comments
(9)
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Sorry Parents
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December 19, 2012
Mom and Dad (if around) are the ones that need to go to jail and be punished for letting this happen. I do beelvie the kids involved need a lesson of some type. Maybe not jail, but volunteering in a hospital with babies and classes on prevention
COBB GREEN LIGHTS 12
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December 17, 2012
The Cobb County legal eagles seem to be working to establish legal precedent for 12 year old children being "adult" enough to consent to sex and its potential result 9 months later at age 13.

This case, if it goes forward, will likely become the standard child rapist defense when the vic is 12 or older: If one 12 year old is old enough, aren't they all?

Please stop and think, Cobb County, before you roll out the red carpet for internet predators to come have legal sex with our 12 year olds.

On the other hand, perhaps the real motivation here is that child sex tourism is the plan boosting the local economy. Hotel Motel tax revenue would surely go up as internet pervs fly in from all over to meet our children.

Arthur Blank might get his new playground on the backs of our children on their backs!

Is that new stadium worth it to us?
VFP42
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December 17, 2012
Cobb County wants to charge this as an adult?

That right there is enough reason to do away with the police's ability to charge any minor as an adult for anything at all.

What the heck has the world come to.

Not old enough to vote

Not old enough to drink

Not old enough to drink

Not old enough to consent to sex

Plenty old enough to charge with murdering her own baby

For all we know that baby could have come out stillborn and she was not old enough to deal with that either, but that isn't gonna keep Cobb Police from talking smack a thirteen year old whose baby died.

Could get some Connecticut police to transfer down here and teach the yocals how to behave?

COBB POLICE I CHARGE YOU AS THE CHILDREN IN THIS CASE!
Diamond Jim
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December 15, 2012
What a terrible, terrible tragedy. I guess it should come as no surprise that murder charges were filed before the cause of death has been determined. I fervently hoped we'd see the end of the "Hang 'em High Cobb" era with the retirement of Pat Head but I guess it is just too ingrained in our judicial DNA.
Susantoo
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December 15, 2012
Why don't these same charges apply to people who get late-term abortions?? I mean there are There are places where we can put that infant where it will be raised by the state or a foster family … but you cannot fail to report the death of another human being,” right??

America the beautiful hypocrites!
Baffled!
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December 15, 2012
Why is it that this 13-year-old CHILD is charged with "felony murder, cruelty to children in the first degree and concealing a death"? Granted what she did was totally wrong but how was this OBVIOUSLY UNIFORMED child, who was OBVIOUSLY NEGLECTED and EMOTIONALLY ABANDONED - hence having a child in her bedroom while her "parents" were "sleeping" - unquestionably being charged so harshly. HAS ANYONE CONSIDERED HER "MENTALLY ILL"???

How can a KILLER who murders 20 children in COLD BLOOD get the "MENTALLY ILL" pass but this little girl gets tagged as a FELON. FELON=CRIMINAL.

Apparently she was not from an "astute" ethnicity. This is a crying shame!!
@baffled
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December 16, 2012
are you serious? How dare you make either of these tragedies about race or "astute" ethnicity. Both are incredibly sad, though very different.

Please tell me what an "astute ethnicity" is, as well. I'm unaware of the use of this term in this context.
Olefinanace
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December 15, 2012
Pregnant at age 13 -- that is statutory rape. Did the parents not know that she was pregnant?
jkuza
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December 15, 2012
Statuatory rape??? NO, because her 'baby daddy' was only 14. Obviously needs to be sterilized - I am tired of paying for these indigents' bastards!
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