HOUSTON (AP) — A 14-year-old who gave birth at her friend’s Houston apartment, then helped discard the newborn’s body after he suffocated, was arrested after a child who witnessed the death told a school counselor, authorities said Tuesday.
Houston police said no adults were present — only another 14-year-old and two 11-year-olds — when the girl gave birth April 16, and the group learned about child birth from the Internet. The newborn was placed on a mattress and was “alive for some time,” but died after his head was covered with the amniotic sac, Senior Officer C.P. Abbey said.
“We were a little surprised ourselves that these kids gave birth in an apartment,” Abbey said. “Our question to them was, ‘How did you know how to do this?’ and they said they had looked it up on a computer.”
The newborn never cried, and no one called 911.
Instead, after the infant died, the group wrapped him in a plastic bag and called an adult neighbor, who told police he put the baby in a large trash bin at the apartment complex. The group also threw out the bed linens, clothing and the bed.
The garbage had been taken to a landfill by the time investigators learned about the death. They said the landfill was too big to search.
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The neighbor has not been charged, but the “possibility exists,” Abbey said.
Police began investigating after one of the 11-year-olds told an elementary school counselor she witnessed the death a week earlier. The counselor, a former Houston police officer, called police.
The 14-year-old mother was charged Monday with a felony charge of injury to a child, police said. She was is the custody of Harris County’s juvenile probation department, spokeswoman Kendall Mayfield said.
The arrest wasn’t made until this week because investigators had to not only identify the mother, but talk to other witnesses, school district officials and counselors, Houston police spokesman John Cannon.
The infant’s father is also a juvenile, but was not present at the birth and has not been charged.
The mother’s 11-year-old sister, who witnessed the birth, was the only person to know of the pregnancy, Abbey said. The children’s parents were at work during the incident.
“Everybody’s parents work, they were not aware of what was going on,” he said.