CONCORD, New Hampshire – A U.S. woman accused of cutting the fetus out of her pregnant friend and then telling others she’d just had a baby girl was ordered held on $2 million bail Thursday, a day after she was found with the live infant at a homeless shelter.
Julie Corey, 35, of Worcester, Massachusetts, who was arrested Wednesday at the shelter in Plymouth, New Hampshire, appeared in Concord District Court via video from the county jail. She did not waive extradition to be brought back to Massachusetts. The judge scheduled a hearing for Aug. 30.
She said little during the hearing, at which Judge Gerald Boyle ordered all police affidavits in the case sealed.
Police say they were alerted by acquaintances who became suspicious of Corey’s claims that she had just given birth, and then heard the news about a neighbour whose dead body was found in a closet, with a fetus removed from her womb.
The body of Darlene Haynes, a 23-year-old mother of three who was eight months pregnant, was found Monday in her Worcester, Massachusetts, apartment by her landlord, who was led her by the “horrifying smell.”
Neighbours say Corey and a man she was with at the homeless shelter, 27-year-old Alex Dion, used to live in the same building and knew Haynes through her boyfriend. Dion was taken into custody and released to a family member.
The baby girl was in good condition at a Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, where she was brought in at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Hospital spokeswoman Michele Hutchins said the staff was working with police and state child protection authorities to resolve legal and custody issues for the baby, who is just days old.
Corey told acquaintances that she delivered the baby sometime late Thursday or early Friday at an undisclosed hospital, and by later Friday was showing the newborn off to acquaintances, police said.
“Some friends became a little concerned about how she got home so early after just giving birth,” Worcester Police Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst said.
The exact cause of Haynes’ death has yet to be determined pending toxicology tests, but Worcester said the autopsy indicated Haynes suffered head injuries.
Haynes had a restraining order against her boyfriend, Roberto Rodriguez. Her landlord said Rodriguez moved out of the apartment last month.
Agnes Brady, a neighbour, said Corey knew Haynes through Rodriguez. She described Corey as very friendly, and recalled her once baking a lasagna for all of the neighbours in the apartment building. Brady’s son, Randy LaRose, said Corey had an 11-year-old son from a previous relationship who also lived in the apartment.
Haynes was found Monday in a closet at her Worcester apartment. It was not until an autopsy that authorities discovered the fetus was missing.
“The baby had a ribbon tied around the umbilical cord – not your normal umbilical cord-severing device, and with that it’s pretty certain this is the baby from the murdered woman,” Lt. Terry Kinneen, of the New Hampshire State Police, told WMUR-TV in Concord on Thursday.
Corey, Dion and the baby arrived at the homeless shelter in Plymouth, about 40 miles (64 kilometres) north of Concord, Tuesday night, director Catherine Bentwood confirmed. She said the baby looked comfortable. Corey identified herself as the mother and agreed to have the baby seen by a local pediatrician.
Bentwood said the shelter received a call about 5 p.m. Wednesday asking if staffers could keep Corey there. Officers arrived shortly afterward and arrested her.
The Union Leader newspaper reported Thursday that Corey was arrested as she tried to leave the shelter with the infant after workers alerted police and a nurse began photographing the baby with her cellphone. Bentwood couldn’t confirm those details because she had left before the arrest.
Associated Press writers Bob Salsberg, Jeannie Nuss and Rodrique Ngowi in Boston contributed to this report.