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Two Wisconsin parents are accused of killing their newborn child, after police found their son in a plastic garbage bag in the trunk of the father’s vehicle.
Marylinn Feher, 22, and Allen Rice, 19, are charged with child neglect causing death, according to a Wood County Sheriff’s Department press release.
On April 6, police were called to Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield, WI, a small city about 130 miles west of Green Bay after hospital staff reported a possible missing newborn child.
Upon arrival, authorities found “a male newborn child wrapped in a bath towel inside a tied plastic garbage bag in the rear cargo portion of the [father’s] vehicle,” according to a Wood County Sheriff’s Department press release.
The baby had reportedly been sealed in the bag for roughly three hours. The child was still alive and “temporarily revived” by medical staff but later died.
Police said the mother had given birth at a private home in Milladore, a small town about 20 miles southeast of Marshfield and that the baby “hadn’t been brought to the medical facility prior to being discovered by authorities.”
Sheriff Shawn Becker of the Wood County Sheriff’s Department told Oxygen.com that the parents had arrived at the hospital seeking medical treatment for Feher. When it was evident she had given birth—and with no sign of a child—hospital staff became suspicious and phoned police.
“A younger female had come into the emergency room seeking treatment and once she started to get treatment, staff there, physicians, [noticed] that she had just recently given birth and were inquiring where the newborn was,” Becker told Oxygen.com. “She wasn’t seeking medical treatment for the infant and they thought the child might have already been deceased.”
He added that a charge of homicide is being requesting against the mother, Feher. It’s unclear right now why those charges aren’t being requested against both parents. However, Becker said that, “based on the investigation and what we’ve found at this point, [she] should be responsible for the death.”
Becker wouldn’t comment on the extent of the newborn’s injuries until a pathologist’s report had been completed. But he did say that investigators believe the parents thought the newborn was dead by the time they arrived at the hospital.
Local television station WLUK reported that Feher and Rice were being held on $1,000,000 and $35,000 bonds, respectively.
They’re scheduled to appear in court April 22. The Wood County Sheriff’s office said Rice and Feher were being represented by a public defender. Oxygen.com was unable to reach Randy Kraft, a spokesperson for Wisconsin State Public Defenders to verify this.
However, Becker, the Wood County sheriff, said this case is one of the most horrific he’s seen during his 25 years in law enforcement.
“It’s probably the worst investigation, that in my opinion, that the sheriff’s department has been involved with, probably in my career,” Becker said. “It could have been avoided. This is one of the hardest cases our staff has worked on in their careers, as well. It’s been a very hard and emotional investigation.”
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