By Dave Andrusko
The Medical Examiner’s Office is performing an autopsy on a baby discovered Thursday afternoon in a teenager’s shopping bag after security personnel at a Victoria’s Secret in New York City’s Herald Square stopped two teenage girls suspected of shoplifting.
There are conflicting reports whether the baby was six months old or near-term. The mother, 17-year-old Tiana Rodriguez, was taken to Bellevue Hospital, CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez reported. As of last night, her companion, Francis Estevez, was being held at the Midtown South police station.
The results of the autopsy are expected to be released today. The Medical Examiner’s Office is attempting to determine whether the child (in some accounts, identified as a boy) was born dead or alive and the exact cause of death.
According to WABC, police said the two girls were acting suspiciously. As they approached Rodriguez and Sanchez, one of the police “smelled a foul odor coming from a bag.” Asked what was inside the bag, one teen said “human remains.”
WABC’s Carolina Leid reported that Rodriguez “allegedly wrapped the baby boy in clothing put him in the bag and has been carrying him ever since.” Leid also reported that Rodriguez said she had miscarried on Wednesday at her friend’s home in Queens. Other reports said the two were shoplifting while they tried to figure out what to do with the dead baby’s remains.
Shoppers were shocked by the news.
“It makes me feel sick. I don’t understand the thought process, to have a baby in a bag and then shoplift,” Erit Maor told the New York Post. She added that she had not known about the “macabre discovery” until told by reporters.
“I think it’s very strange that they didn’t shut down the store. I feel a level of disrespect,” she added.
“You wouldn’t know anything had happened if you were in there. You would think it would look like a crime scene,” Maor said. “I’ve never heard of anything like this.”
“I think it’s crazy. It’s a newborn baby in a bag. I just had a baby a month ago and I’m shocked,” said Jazmin Barrett. “She needs some psychological help.”
Neighbors and friends told CBS 2 they had no idea Rodriguez, who has a 2-year-old son, was pregnant.
“I couldn’t really tell because she’s a little heavyset, so I wouldn’t know if she was pregnant, or that’s just her,” neighbor Ramon Acosta told CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez.