A Tennessee mother allegedly used a plastic bag to suffocate her 4-month-old infant, “staged” her death as an accident, and continued her life for a decade before making the startling admission to police.
Zohal Sakwall, 40, said the “disruption” of raising a child was too much to bear, and she fabricated her baby’s accidental death 10 years ago, according to the Nashville Metro Police Department.
“[Sakwall] destroyed evidence and staged the scene to cover up her crime of murder,” law enforcement said in a statement on March 24.
On June 15, 2010, Sakwall phoned emergency dispatchers, claiming she laid her daughter down for a nap. Sakwall, who claimed she momentarily left the room, returned to find her baby unresponsive. The infant had become ensnared by her blankets and “suffocated.”
The child was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later. At the time, there was no evidence that Sakwall had murdered her daughter. An autopsy later ruled Natalie’s death as accidental, which eliminated any suspicions of foul play.
“Based on all available information and the results of an autopsy, the death was classified by the MNPD and the Medical Examiner as an accident,” Nashville police added.
However on Jan. 31 this year, Sakwall again picked up the telephone and called authorities. During an exchange with detectives, she allegedly confessed to suffocating the 4-month-old with a plastic bag.
The mother was arrested in South Nashville late on Monday, authorities announced this week. The accused killer’s case was presented to a grand jury and she’s since been indicted on first-degree murder charges, online court records show.
It’s unclear why Sakwall came forward now. However, she allegedly confessed to asphyxiating the young child because having the baby was a “disruption” in her life.
“[Sakwall] admitted to suffocating her daughter with a plastic bag due to what she said was the disruption to her life caused by having the child,” law enforcement said.
She’s being held on $200,000 bond, court records show.
The Nashville Metro Police Department wasn’t immediately available for comment regarding the case on Friday.
Sakwall has been arrested for a number of predominantly petty offenses, stretching back to 2012, according to a trove of court documents reviewed by Oxygen.com. The 40-year-old has been found guilty on theft, criminal trespass, vandalism, and drug charges in Davidson County. Sakwall was also arrested on Jan. 28 on burglary charges. The case is currently open.
It was not immediately clear if Sakwall had an attorney who could comment on her behalf.
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