Authorities accuse a Washington, D.C., mother of strangling, drowning, dismembering and trying to flush her partially newborn son down the toilet.
Lillian Alvarado, 24, had kept her pregnancy a secret from her family before giving birth to the child in a bathtub on Thanksgiving 2013, The Washington Post reports.
“This was a horrific crime that occurred on Thanksgiving Day to an innocent child killed by his mother,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Wright once said at a D.C. Superior Court hearing.
It is alleged that Lillian initially tried to strangle and drown the child to death before dismembering the baby so that it would flush down the toilet, The Washington Post reports.
Police only discovered the infant's dead body after bloody water leaked down the apartment walls of the neighbor below.
According to police, Lillian -- a hardworking cleaner who had fled violence in her native country, El Salvador, after her husband was killed -- sat on a bed before they discovered the body and said, “Forgive me."
She later told police she recalls hitting her head on the sink as she got out of the tub and flushing the toilet before “everything went dark.”
The young woman was hospitalized for a month after the baby died.
For years, the District’s Public Defender Service has argued Lillian was not mentally competent to be tried. Instead, they argued, she should stay at St. Elizabeths, the District’s psychiatric hospital.
“She has mental disturbances sometimes, and when that happens, she doesn’t talk,” said her father, 70-year-old Santiago Alvarado. “She goes out of her mind. The doctors diagnosed her with a sickness.”
"I don’t think a mother can kill her son," he added. "I didn’t see that. I didn’t even know she was pregnant. After this happened, I asked her, and she told me she didn’t know she was pregnant, that she got her period. I don’t want her to be in jail.”
However, psychiatrists evaluated Lillian and determined she was, at the very least, mentally fit to stand trial, according to The Associated Press.
Lillian will be arraigned in court on Nov. 4.