Federal Way teen mother pleads not guilty in the death of her newborn

A 14-year-old Federal Way teen who was charged April 15 with second-degree homicide in connection with the death of her newborn pleaded not guilty to the crime Thursday in court.

The young mother allegedly suffocated the infant hours after its birth April 9. A court ruled she must remain in detention until her case setting hearing on April 24.

The girl has remained in custody since April 13. She is not being named because she is a juvenile. The girl, who attends Totem Middle School, was arrested April 10. Police found the infant deceased in the young mother's home in the 2200 block of South Star Lake Road shortly after she gave birth. Homicide charges, rather than manslaughter charges, were recommended by police because they believe the crime was intentional but not premeditated, police spokesman Raymond Bunk said.

The morning of April 9, fire and police were dispatched to the home in response to a call from the juvenile's family. The juvenile's mother discovered her bleeding. According to court documents, thinking the girl miscarried the pregnancy, her mother and cousin rushed her to St. Francis Hospital. The cousin's boyfriend, who stayed behind at the home where the birth took place, discovered the unresponsive infant wrapped in a blanket inside the apartment and called his girlfriend after she left for the hospital, according to documents. The girl, her mother and cousin returned to the apartment, where the cousin called 911.

Dispatchers instructed the woman on how to administer CPR to the infant, but the attempt was unsuccessful, according to the documents. The fire district arrived shortly after and pronounced the female infant dead.

The juvenile later told police she gave birth around 7:25 a.m. April 9. The infant was alive and moving, but not crying when it arrived, according to court documents. The girl's mother called the teen approximately 15 minutes prior to the birth. The girl went to the living room to answer the phone, but failed to mention she was in labor because "the baby wasn't out yet," according to the juvenile's statement to police. About two hours later, the teen's mother returned home and upon seeing an alarming amount of blood, attempted to enter the bedroom where the teen was located.

The teen attempted to hide the baby from her mother by covering it with a blanket, according to court documents. She then allegedly suffocated the baby as it laid under the blanket by pressing her forearm upon the baby's face until it stopped moving, according to court documents.

The juvenile told police she and family members noticed a "belly" forming on her in January, and her mother made her take a pregnancy test, which showed negative results, according to the court documents. She also went to the doctor, but did not participate in a pregnancy test, according to court documents.

The juvenile's 20-year-old boyfriend, Leonel Guzman-Jacobo, was not involved in the infant's death. He was arrested April 10 and charged April 14 for allegedly committing second-degree child rape, also referred to as statutory rape, stemming from the fact that the mother was under the age of consent when she became impregnated, police reports said. Guzman-Jacobo appeared in court April 11 and is being held on $100,000 bail, due to the fact that he is a Mexican national and the court feared he may flee. The teen girl and Guzman-Jacobo both admitted to engaging in consensual sexual intercourse several times during their relationship, according to court documents.

A homicide conviction carries a maximum sentence of detention to the age of 21, King County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Dan Donohoe said.

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