A New York City passerby was shocked to find a homeless woman cradling a dead baby she had just given birth to.
A concerned stranger called 911 at around 8 a.m. on Aug. 31 to report spotting the dead newborn, according to the New York Daily News. Emergency responders confirmed the baby was dead when they arrived.
The 22-year-old homeless woman told officers she had given birth 12 hours earlier. She was transferred to a nearby hospital for evaluation.
The woman, who remains unnamed, has no previous arrest record and faced no immediate charges. The city's medical examiner will determine the baby's cause of death.
A similar story occurred in Bakersfield, California, where a homeless woman carried her dead newborn in her purse and "smiled" while showing it to two acquaintances, according to KBAK.
The 29-year-old woman was believed to have given birth in a nearby park bathroom on Aug. 2. It's unclear when the baby died or if it was alive at the time of delivery.
The homeless woman then allegedly put the newborn in her purse and walked to the house of Teresa Murphy, an acquaintance.
"We've known her for a while," said Murphy. "She comes in and out, and she's homeless."
On that day, the homeless woman talked to Murphy's daughter and sister.
"She started confiding in my daughter, and the next thing we knew she asked my daughter if she wanted to see the baby," said Murphy.
The woman then opened her purse and showed the obviously dead newborn all while "laughing and smiling like it was just another day."
Murphy's sister called 911 and the woman was taken to a local hospital. A coroner will determine the baby's cause of death.
"I don't even know who she's pregnant by. She didn't show any signs of being pregnant," said Murphy. "I just hope she gets the help she needs."
A study in the medical journal American Journal of Orthopsychiatry reveals that pregnancy rates for homeless women in the U.S. are higher than those for women who are financially stable. Up to 22 percent of all homeless women may be pregnant. Only one-half of pregnant homeless women receive consistent prenatal care, and one-fifth report never seeing their children.
"Becoming pregnant during adolescence is a tremendous stressor for young women who have family and peer support, access to prenatal care, and a supportive partner," the study concludes. "These young women lack even a stable place to live. The likelihood of birth complications, low weight infants, problems with parenting, and long range developmental problems are very great."
Sources: New York Daily News, KBAK, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry via the National Institutes of Health / Featured Image: Natalia Tjandra/Flickr / Embedded Images: Pedro Ribeiro Simoes/Flickr, Government of Alberta/Flickr