A housekeeper on New York’s Long Island gave birth in her employer’s bathroom, killed the newborn, then went to a hospital with the body in a bag and asked her unknowing husband to throw it away, prosecutors said on Friday.
A lawyer for the woman, Santos Elena Ruiz Solano, said the baby was stillborn, premature and the result of a rape.
Solano, 26, of Honduras, pleaded not guilty to murder and was being held without bail.
Solano delivered the girl early on Sunday last week at her employer’s West Islip home, where she lives, US police said.
Then she went to a hospital for treatment of childbirth complications, bringing a couple of bags with her, police said.
She told her husband to throw away one of the bags, but after putting it in a garbage pail, he and her employer became suspicious, looked inside and found the body, Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Glenn Kurtzrock said.
Solano had not told anyone she was pregnant and initially denied it to hospital staffers and police, he said.
Kurtzrock said medical examiners have determined the baby was born alive and had three skull fractures that would have required “significant force.”
“It would not have been caused by the baby simply falling or being dropped out of someone’s arms,” he said.
Solano’s lawyer, Michael Brown, said she was raped while en route to the US, where, he said, she arrived about six months ago.
The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted, but is doing so because Solano’s name was public before her lawyer described her as a rape victim and because of the seriousness of the murder charge.
Brown called what happened a “tragic case,” but not a murder.
“She is a mother who gave birth to a stillborn baby. She’s traumatized,” he said. “But now she is facing the hammer of the criminal justice system.”
He suggested the baby’s skull fractures could have resulted from falling against a toilet bowl while being delivered.
Kurtzrock said authorities were investigating the rape allegation, and “if anything, that would be a motive for what she did.”
Solano has two children, 5 and 6, in Honduras, Brown said. Her husband, Selvin Adonis Hernandez, told reporters outside court that she is a good mother.