SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - Police have arrested a 22-year-old woman and charged her with murdering her infant. The baby was found in a trash compactor at a Slidell apartment complex Monday morning.
Antwonetta Jones is accused of dumping her newborn in the trash. Slidell police said the child was not stillborn and breathing before being placed in the dumpster.
"The child, we know through the investigation, was breathing at the time the child was born, Ms. Jones does live with her mother at the Canterbury apartments, the child was born in a bathtub of water, the child was then cleaned up, was breathing and was alive," Police Chief Randy Smith said.
Detectives said that Jones hid the pregnancy from family and friends. Jones told police she was scared and did not know what to do after giving birth. She eventually confessed to her mother, who was oblivious to the pregnancy.
"She had no clue, during the investigation, the daughter went to her in fear, after she had realized what she had done, explained it to her mother, her mother then made the decision to inform us," Chief Smith said.
A maintenance worker at the Canterbury House Apartments made the discovery Monday at about 9:15 a.m. The worker found the infant under several garbage bags in a box. Jones lived at the apartment complex.
Investigators were still trying to find witnesses when they received a call from Jones' mother on Tuesday at 1 a.m. She said she called police once she realized that the infant was her grandchild. She told authorities Jones confessed to what happened.
Jones had the baby girl on Sunday. The baby was alive for several hours, but the mother claims at some point she began choking and quit breathing, according to police. Jones put the baby inside of a box and brought her to the dumpster.
"This was a full term, very beautiful, six pound, four ounce female child, it really looked to be in a good state of health, we did not see any obvious trauma to the child," Dr. Charles Preston, St. Tammany Parish Coroner, said.
"It is very disturbing to me that this young lady felt as though she had no other options available," said Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith. "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."
The St. Tammany Parish coroner is still trying to determine the cause of death. He said the initial autopsy did not establish a clear cause of death.
Police said they have been in touch with the father. He said he did not realize Jones was pregnant.
Jones is charged with second-degree murder. She remains in police custody.
For more information on Louisiana's Safe Haven law, click here.