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Autopsy shows Hill District baby in bin was stillborn

| Friday, Nov. 6, 2009, 12:00 p.m.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner has determined that a baby found stuffed in a plastic bin under a bed on Thursday in the Hill District was stillborn, a city police spokeswoman said.

The baby boy was pronounced dead at 10:20 a.m. by Pittsburgh paramedics, police said. His body was wrapped in towels by his mother, a 16-year-old Brashear High School student, police said. They did not release her identity.

"The medical examiner indicated to investigators that the tiny infant found ... in a Reed-Roberts apartment was not born alive," city police spokeswoman Diane Richard said. "It was also determined (that) had the child been born alive, it would have expired in less than 30 seconds."

Richard said the medical examiner determined "that the gestation of the child was 23 to 24 weeks, approximately six months, and there were no signs that the baby ever took a breath."

She said the baby was "very, very small" — about 12 inches long and approximately 1 1/2 pounds.

The teen told detectives she gave birth Wednesday night in the family's apartment and then put the baby in a plastic bin, which she then placed under a bed. She went to school.

The girl told a friend at school what she had done, and that girl told school officials. Pittsburgh Public Schools police were called and went to the apartment, along with Pittsburgh police officers, authorities said.

Richard said the district attorney's office will await a full report from the medical examiner before deciding if charges are warranted.

"At this point, there is nothing to lead investigators to believe that the 16-year-old attempted to harm her child in any way," Richard said.

The girl remained hospitalized for observation, Richard said. The girl's family declined to comment.

Richard said the teen's family didn't know she was pregnant or why she gave birth alone and stuffed the baby in a box. At least one adult and a 2-year-old also live in the apartment.

"She's 16 years old, she's a teenager, she's a child," Richard said. "A normal 16-year-old would be afraid to say: 'Dad, I'm pregnant.' " She was just frightened."

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