A woman who gave birth in bathroom stall in a Michigan office building last month then left the newborn in a bag under her desk to die is being charged with felony murder, premeditated murder, and first-degree child abuse, according to prosecutors in Wayne County. The murder charges carry maximum sentences of life in prison without parole. Kimberly Pappas, 25, was arraigned at noon today and entered a not guilty plea before being remanded to the county jail without bond.
Prosecutors had been seemingly waiting for the results of an autopsy, released on Thursday by Wayne County’s Medical Examiner which determined the cause of the newborn’s death to be homicide by asphyxiation.
Pappas, a temporary worker on assignment at the freight-moving company Ceva Logistics, had told her coworkers that she wasn’t pregnant, but when they heard moaning coming from the bathroom and later found blood in the stall, they called 911.
Prosecutors allege on the morning of March 31, Pappas gave birth to a live full-term baby. After the birth, they say she cut the umbilical cord with cuticle scissors, sealed the infant in a plastic bag, and then placed it in a tote bag near her desk.
The corresponding police report and its details are being withheld because of the ongoing investigation, Redford Police Lt. David Holt told The Daily Beast.
At the arraignment, Sgt. Kevin Crittenden with the Redford Police said that the baby had been kept in the bag for 15 minutes to a half-hour. After attempts to resuscitate the child by a responder from the local fire department failed, the baby was rushed to a local hospital and pronounced dead. Pappas told paramedics she had suffered a miscarriage, according to Crittenden. Pappas' attorney, Ray Cassar, told The Detroit Free Press that she was in therapy "for mental-health issues, and that if she intended to murder the baby, she wouldn't have done it at work."
Pappas was hospitalized and released, awaiting a cause of death.
"If the medical examiner would have come back with a different cause of death, we wouldn't have a crime,” Lt. Holt told MLive.
Safe Haven laws, which allow parents to surrender a newborn to authorities--no questions asked--exist in all 50 states, according to the National Safe Haven Alliance. Michigan's Safe Haven law has been in place since 2001.