Court records: University of Tampa student gave birth in dorm bathroom, claimed baby died afterward

The newborn girl is believed to have died shortly after being born. The baby was later found wrapped in a towel in a trash can.

TAMPA, Fla. — A student at the University of Tampa told police she gave birth in her dorm bathroom and the child died, according to court documents. She then reportedly wrapped the newborn in a towel.

Campus security called first responders just before 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, after getting reports from students who thought they heard a baby crying in one of the dorm rooms in McKay Hall, a search warrant from the Tampa Police Department reads.

First responders said campus security advised them that a female student may have had a miscarriage. When EMS arrived, however, they reportedly cleared the scene after the woman told them the blood found in the shared dorm bathroom was from her period.

The next day, police were back on UT’s campus after security reported that “a deceased fetus” was located in a bag. It was then the woman’s roommates reportedly told police they saw her holding a bundled-up towel Saturday morning.

RELATED: Police: Infant found dead in garbage bin on University of Tampa campus

Campus security reported that students contacted an officer saying they had found a trash bag that was “suspicious” based on what had happened the day before. The security officer looked inside the bag and saw the dead newborn, court documents said. That’s when Tampa police were called in to investigate. 

Police said when they spoke with the woman, she told them she didn’t know she was pregnant but may have been in denial. She told them she hadn’t had a period in about a year. 

The woman reportedly told police that around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, she started feeling sick and nauseous. A short time later, she gave birth in the adjoining bathroom connecting two dorm rooms.

After being born, “the baby started crying for approximately five seconds” before going silent, the court documents read. The woman said she had picked the baby up while it was crying, and put the baby facing forward on her chest. The baby stopped crying. 

A few minutes after holding the newborn, the woman said she put the baby down on a towel. When feeling the infant’s chest, she said she didn’t feel a heartbeat or any life signs. She reportedly told police she believed the baby was dead. 

The woman then showered and cleaned up the baby, who was reportedly still lifeless. She then told police she wrapped the baby completely in the towel and took the bundle to her bed and put it on the floor before falling asleep for about an hour. 

Around 11 a.m., the woman checked the baby again and still didn’t see signs of life. Police said she wrapped the baby back up and put her in the dorm room trash can and went back to sleep. 

Later that day, when EMS came to do a wellness check, she was asked if she was pregnant and reportedly said she wasn’t and that her period had a heavy flow, accounting for any blood found in the bathroom. 

Autopsy results are still pending from the medical examiner’s office and a cause of death for the newborn hasn’t been determined, police told 10 Tampa Bay on Friday. 

The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay can connect people to resources and information during traumatizing events or in situations when general advice is needed. Call 211 to reach the center.

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