By Dave Andrusko
It was the horrific story that did not get mentioned Tuesday in a brief court appearance. Manhattan Judge Erika Edwards denied a motion by defense lawyers for Tiona Rodriguez to dismiss shoplifting charges against the 17-year-old resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn.
What went unmentioned were the circumstances surrounding the death of Rodriquez’s eight and a half pound baby whose body police at a Victoria Secret story in Midtown New York found in Ms. Rodriquez’s shopping bag.
Preliminary tests had suggested that Tiona Rodriguez’s baby died of asphyxiation soon after birth, law enforcement sources told the New York Post and WABC.
“Investigators believe Rodriguez killed her baby a day after its birth, a police source said,” the New York Post’s Rebecca Rosenberg reported. “But the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office won’t bring homicide charges until the medical examiner’s office makes its final determination on the cause of death.”
According to WABC, police said Rodriquez and her friend Francis Estevez were acting suspiciously at the store. 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.” Rodriguez said she had miscarried on Wednesday at her friend’s home in Queens, but detectives found “inconsistencies” in her story.
Estevez , also charged with shoplifting, pled guilty to a lesser charge–disorderly conduct—on Tuesday. Her sentence was two days of community service, according to Rosenberg.
Judge Edwards scheduled hearings and a trial January 23 for Rodriquez on the misdemeanor theft and stolen property possession.