Last Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 @ 11:39AM
A 14-year-old girl is facing homicide charges after deputies said she gave birth to a baby in her Lakeland home, then strangled the baby and hid his body in her bedroom.
Deputies arrested the Kathleen High student on Thursday, five days after the Polk County Sheriff's Office received a call that a baby had been found inside a shoebox in the girl's Lakeland home, authorities said.
Investigators later determined that she had delivered the baby in the bathroom, then choked the baby to death.
"Everybody's a loser here," Sheriff Grady Judd said in a press conference on Friday. "This 14-year-old child murdered her infant baby that she successfully delivered at home."
Mother discovers baby's body in dirty laundry
Detectives responded to the home and learned that the girl's mother had been collecting dirty laundry on Saturday when she smelled an odor in the girl's room. The mother gathered a plastic bag of wet, dirty clothes from a "storage stool," put the bag in the sink and started sorting through the wet items, the report said.
That's when the mother found the baby's body. The mother called her sisters, who in turn called 911, the report said.
Detectives came to the family home and interivewed the girl and her mother.
The girl told detectives that she started feeling sick on Monday, and that the discomfort continued through Wednesday. At some point between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m., the girl went into the bathroom and went into labor, the report said.
She told detectives she put a towel in her mouth and turned on the bathroom water to hide any noise she might make, investigators said.
Detectives said she told them that as the pain of the labor got worse, she used a pair of scissors to "pry the baby out." The baby boy, who measured 9-and-a-half pounds and was 20 inches long, was delivered alive and into the toilet, the report said.
Detectives said the girl then took the baby out of the toilet, felt for a pulse, then put her hands around the baby's neck and squeezed until he was no longer breathing. She told detectives she choked the baby to "stop him from breathing," the report said.
The girl cleaned up the bathroom, bathed herself and the dead infant, and then put the baby's body in a shoebox along with dirty towels and clothes, deputies said.
That same day, medical staff at Lakeland Regional Medical Center contacted authorities to report that they had treated the girl for what was believed to be a miscarriage.
The arrest affidavit indicates that the girl showed signs of a miscarriage and that she had four or five lacerations inside her genital area.
Judd: Girl hid pregnancy from mother
Detectives said the girl, who weighs 100 pounds and is 5-feet-3, had been hiding her pregnancy from her family by wearing baggy clothes, including sweatshirts and jackets, for the past several months.
According to the report, two of the girl's aunts suspected the girl was pregnant and talked to the mother about it, but the mother had denied the girl was pregnant.
According to the arrest affidavit, the mother had given her daughter two pregnancy tests, both of which she took with no parent present, because her mother wanted to protect her daughter's privacy. The tests came back with no result, with the mother interpreted as a negative result.
The mother was in "absolute total denial," Judd said.
An autopsy determined that the baby was healthy and alive when he was born, and that the cause of death was asphyxia from strangulation and blunt force trauma. The blunt force trauma was consistent with the use of scissors, which would have hit the baby in the head when the girl used them during labor, the report said.
The girl has been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. She was medically screened and cleared, then taken to Polk County Juvenile Detention Facility.
We are not releasing the girl's identity in accordance with our crime guidelines, as it is not yet known if she will be charged as an adult.
Judd said the girl confessed to the crime, saying, she did it because "she didn't want to change the relationship with her mother and her family." Judd said the girl also said she didn't know what to do with the child.
Judd said the case "makes you sick to your stomach."
"There will never be an adequate explanation, nor do we expect that all of our questions will be answered," he said.