- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 5, 2015

SLIDELL, La. (AP) - A 22-year-old mother faces a murder charge for failing to care for her newborn or call authorities before the girl died and was put into an apartment complex trash compactor, Slidell police said.

Police Chief Randy Smith said Antwonetta Jones was arrested Tuesday, a day after a maintenance worker found the tiny body in a box in the trash compactor.

An autopsy indicated that the baby had lived between four and 12 hours, according to a news release from police in Slidell, northeast of New Orleans on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. St. Tammany Parish Coroner Charles Preston said the full-term baby weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces and appeared otherwise healthy.

A second-degree murder charge can be brought if a juvenile dies as a result of cruelty, even if the alleged offender did not mean to do major harm to anyone. A prosecutor or grand jury would decide whether to try her on the charge.

Investigators spent much of Monday canvassing the Canterbury House Apartments and talking to people in hope of finding a witness, police said. They said Jones’ mother called 911 about 1 a.m. Tuesday to say the baby was her daughter’s.

During questioning at the Police Department, Jones said she had hidden her nine-month pregnancy from family and friends because she was scared and gave birth Sunday afternoon in her apartment.

“Ms. Jones said the baby was alive for several hours, but at some point began choking and quit breathing,” the news release said. Police said she panicked, put the body in the box and took it to the trash bin.

“It is very disturbing to me that this young lady felt as though she had no other options available,” Jones said. “We have to do a better job of educating our mothers-to-be that Louisiana is a Safe Haven state. If you are unable to care for your baby, you can bring the newborn, up to 60 days old, to a Safe Haven site, which are places like a police department, fire department, or a hospital - no questions asked.”


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