Crime

Police: Woman Hid Newborn Baby While High On Crack

| by Michael Howard

A Florida woman was arrested after allegedly smoking crack cocaine before giving birth to a child.

The incident occurred on April 3 in the city of Clearwater. According to the police report, Katrina Kegelman, 24, gave birth to a baby boy on the back patio of a home. She then reportedly hid the newborn in the backyard.

Carrie Meeks, the woman who owns the property where Kegelman left her baby, told WFTS that was shocked by Kegelman's actions.

"I couldn't imagine doing that with my baby," she said. "There's not a drug in this world that could have made me stash my baby in the bushes and then lie to people and tell them it's not there."

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Meeks explained that she saw Kegelman wandering around outside her home. She let her come inside so that she could take a shower and put on some clean clothes.

When she noticed that Kegelman was in labor, Meeks offered to drive her to the hospital.

"I was like, 'You are in labor. You need to go to the hospital,'" Meeks told WFTS. "Well, we didn’t make it that far."

She went inside to call for assistance, but when she came back outside Kegelman had already given birth to the baby.

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She said Kegelman had blood on her clothes and was concealing the baby under her pants.

"You could see, [her pants] were heavy, hanging way down," she explained. "You could see the pants stretched out. It was in her pants."

Kegelman then reportedly pleaded with Meeks not to call 911. Meeks agreed not to, but stepped inside once more to call a friend. While she was in the house, Kegelman allegedly hid the newborn under a plant in the backyard.

When authorities arrived at the scene, Kegelman initially refused to say where the baby was. She later indicated that it was hidden in the backyard.

The baby survived the experience and was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

"I'm glad he's OK, I really am," Meeks said. "And I guess I’m glad that things went down the way they did, because I hope that lady, she’ll never get that child."

Kegelman, who police described as a transient with no permanent address, was also taken to a hospital before being arrested April 5 and charged with child neglect. While in custody, she reportedly told police that she hid her baby because she thought it was dead and feared being held responsible since she had been smoking crack shortly before giving birth.

She was released from Pinellas County Jail on April 6 after posting $5,000 bail, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The Florida Department of Children and Families is now working to find a home for the baby.

Sources: WFTS, Tampa Bay Times / Photo credit: Pinellas County Jail via WXIX

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