Antwonetta Jones, an unemployed 22-year-old living with her mother in Slidell, Louisiana, was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly giving birth to her daughter in a bathtub and dumping her body in a trash compactor.
Jones reportedly hid her pregnancy from everyone, including her mother and the father of the child. The baby was born alive, but she apparently died a short while later. According to a press release, Jones told detectives the baby "was alive for several hours, but at some point began choking and quit breathing."
Saint Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston said the exact cause of death is still unknown.
“That was a term baby with no real apparent injury, looked healthy,” Preston said at a news conference on Tuesday, WGNO reports. At the time of the autopsy, as noted in a press release, Preston established the child was "between 4-12 hours old, still had the umbilical cord attached, and, at some point, was breathing: indicating the baby was not stillborn.”
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Jones is facing charges because she failed to call for help when the baby started having issues — the body was found by a maintenance worker, who figured out there was a body inside a box and didn’t turn on the compactor. Police wouldn’t say how the maintenance worker realized there was a body in the box.
Jones’ mother turned her into the police after Jones reportedly confessed to her mother about the delivery.
"It is very disturbing to me that this young lady felt as though she had no other options available," said Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith. "We have to do a better job of educating our mothers-to-be that Louisiana is a Safe Haven state.”
Certain states with Safe Haven laws allow unharmed infants to be relinquished to authorities with no questions asked. In Louisiana, babies up to 30 days old can be given up at a hospital, police department, fire station or other facility.
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Jones was reportedly remorseful for her actions.
"We have enough evidence and confession, if you will, to charge her with second-degree murder," Smith said. "We don't see this as a pre-meditated event. She was fully cooperative and showed a lot of remorse for what she had done."
Image via The Times-Picayune