The mother of a newborn baby found dead in a box in an empty Wisconsin field earlier this month has been arrested in connection with the death.
Santos Asucena Caseres Cruz was taken into custody last week and charged with neglecting one child at a time and moving, hiding or burying the body of a child, Law&Crime court documents show.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Jefferson County Circuit Court, officers with the Whitewater Police Department responded to a report of a dead baby at Twin Oaks Trailer Park, about 55 miles west of Milwaukee, around 11 a.m. on March 4. The authorities found a box about five meters from the roadway. Inside were a black garbage bag, a piece of red cloth and the remains of the newborn.
Investigators said the cloth the infant was wrapped in was a blood-stained shirt, according to the affidavit. The baby’s umbilical cord was still attached, and police say he still had “ruminant blood on his body from birth”.
An autopsy could not immediately determine the cause of death.
The box was sent to a crime lab for analysis. Investigators used forensic imaging to create an image of the shipping label with a visible address. The address was traced back to an individual identified in the document as “Witness 1.”
In an interview with police on March 24, Witness 1 said his father told him he believed Witness 1’s mother — Cruz — was having an affair and became pregnant by a man who was not Witness 1’s father . Witness 1 said his father believed his mother subsequently performed an abortion.
Investigators then questioned Cruz, who said “she was not pregnant and did not hide a newborn in a field,” according to the complaint.
“She said she would never do that to a baby,” the document reads. “She said her ex-husband’s allegations of being abusive were untrue.”
Cruz provided a cheek swab and allegedly allowed police to search her car and home.
Another of Cruz’s children, “Witness 2,” told police that on January 27, her mother was in the bathroom late because of a stomach ache.
Witness 2 said there was so much blood that she thought her mother was bleeding.
In another interview with Cruz, she allegedly admitted to being pregnant and hid the pregnancy from her family because the child’s father was not her husband. She believed her family would cut off contact with her if she found out the truth.
“When her baby was born it must have been alive and she did nothing, so it could have died that way,” the complaint reads. “After the baby was born, it started turning purple. First his face started to turn purple, then over the course of the night his body, then his arms and hands. She never helped the baby. She didn’t call 911 because she was afraid her children would find out she was pregnant.”
She then hid the baby in the box under the sink cabinet, picked him up around 4:30 a.m., and took him to a trailer park about half an hour later.
She added that she “checked the box and cried every day.”
Cruz was taken into custody and her bail was $10,000. She is scheduled to appear in court again on April 4 for a preliminary hearing.
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