Mother in court after baby found in trash in Jersey City

September 5, 2013 2:20:55 PM PDT
Police in Jersey City have arrested the mother of a newborn baby boy who was found in a plastic shopping bag in a pile of trash last weekend.

Hudson County prosecutor Gaetano Gregory announced Thursday that 39-year-old Rosibel Christina Lanza was arrested late Wednesday night.

Police say the suspect gave birth to the baby in apartment and then allegedly left the boy in a dumpster at the neighboring apartment. Thursday afternoon she faced those charges.

Showing no emotion, and saying very little, Lanza appeared in court by video link to face charges that she abandoned her new born baby.

"There is an allegation of endangering the welfare of a child. There is also a child abuse allegation," said Hon. Margaret Marley.

In the back of the courtroom, Lanza's mother, Lourdes, and her brother, Melvin, sat stunned by her unexpected arrest and more so they say by her unexplained alleged actions.

"I never had any sign. She never told me anything. She was like a normal person. I never thought about it my mind," said Melvin Lanza, the accused's brother.

Police say they believe Lanza had the child in her apartment and then sometime after that allegedly placed the child in a plastic shopping bag.

The baby was discovered by 15-year old Keyshaun Wiggins and a friend last Saturday in a dumpster next door.

"When we walked up and opened the bag, we saw blood and food and stuff on the baby's face. It was in a plastic bag. There were soap and garbage and stuff," Wiggins said.

"And you didn't even know she was pregnant?" Eyewitness News asked.

"I didn't even know anything," Melvin Lanza said.

Lanza's brother said he didn't know who the father might be. He didn't think she was dating someone. Even her mother didn't know.

"She didn't expect it. Like I didn't. In a million years I would never have expected it," Melvin Lanza said, "I think she knew and she kept it to herself. She told me she was scared."

Even neighbors have trouble finding an explanation.

"To see, to hear something like this is crazy. Like and it's even more crazy because I live next to her, I talk to her," said Maryam Allard, a neighbor.

The three-pound boy was taken to Jersey City Medical Center. Doctors say he was born 11 weeks early but that his vital signs are stable.

In New Jersey, the Safe Haven Law allows a person to drop off a baby at a manned police or fire station, or at a hospital and not be prosecuted. The law was designed and created to protect children, and avoid situations like this.

For more about the New Jersey Safe Haven Law, CLICK HERE.