(LAKELAND, Fla.) — A 14-year-old Florida girl is facing murder charges after police said she admitted to strangling her newborn son and stuffing his body in a shoe box.
The girl gave birth to a 9.5-pound baby boy in the bathroom at her Lakeland, Fla., home on Sept. 19, police said.
The teen, who is 5-foot-3 and weighs 100 pounds, had been wearing baggy clothing to conceal her pregnancy from her family, police said.
When she realized she was giving birth, the girl turned on the bathroom faucet, police said she told them, and placed a towel in her mouth to mute her cries of pain as she delivered the baby.
As the agony of labor increased, police said the girl used scissors to pry the baby into the toilet.
She “lifted the moving infant from the toilet, felt for a pulse, found one, then placed her hands on the infant’s neck and squeezed until he wasn’t moving or breathing any longer,” the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Friday.
The 14-year-old then cleaned up the bathroom and bathed herself and the corpse of her baby before placing him in a shoe box, along with clothes and towels that were soiled during the birth, police said.
Later that day, the girl sought treatment at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center for what doctors believed was an apparent miscarriage. Officials at the hospital alerted police and the Department of Children and Families about the situation, police said.
Three days later, the teen’s mother noticed an odor and discovered the dead baby while collecting dirty laundry from her daughter’s room, police said. She alerted authorities.
The girl was arrested on Thursday and is being held at the Polk County Juvenile Detention Facility.
Detectives said the teen’s mother had been in denial about her daughter’s pregnancy, claiming two home pregnancy tests her daughter took in private did not show a positive result.
At a news conference on Friday, Sheriff Grady Judd said it is possible the teen’s mother could faces charges for neglect, ABC News affiliate WFTS-TV reported.
Investigators are also searching for the baby’s father, Judd said.
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