A 17-year-old girl secretly gave birth to a baby at her home in Saratoga Springs and then, after it died, hid the body in a drawer in her closet, according to a search warrant unsealed last week.
When her father found the dead newborn and called police in April, the girl told officers that she was raped at a party and had concealed the pregnancy from her family. She was charged with abuse or desecration of a dead body, a third-degree felony.
Detectives are still investigating who might be the baby’s biological father — including running a DNA test on an adult male in the girl’s life — suggesting that she evaded questions about it.
The teen gave birth on March 30, according to the criminal charge filed in juvenile court, and “never reported this.” She said she delivered the child, a baby girl, on her own in the family’s bathtub when no one else was home. The baby was “under the water for several minutes,” and the girl later determined that she had drowned.
The 17-year-old then wrapped up the child in a shirt and robe, she told officers, and placed the body in a drawer in her bedroom closet.
The search warrant noted that the girl said she was raped at a party in West Valley City in August 2017. She wore baggy clothes while she was pregnant to hide her stomach.
The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not identify teenagers charged in juvenile court. A judge has ordered that the girl, who has since turned 18, be placed on probation and undergo therapy.
Utah has had a Safe Haven law in effect since 2001 that allows biological parents to anonymously give up custody of newborn child without facing legal consequences. Intended to save children’s lives, the goal is to prevent women from abandoning babies in places such as trash cans and bathrooms. A 24-hour hotline can be reached by calling 866-458-0058.