Tiona Rodriguez -- the 17-year-old girl discovered with a dead fetus in her shopping bag at a Victoria’s Secret in Manhattan -- might be facing homicide charges. An autopsy report confirmed that the baby died of asphyxiation after being born alive at full term, a source told the New York Post.
Rodriguez and her friend, Francis Estevez, 17, have already been charged with petty larceny and criminal possession of stolen property after they were spotted by employees swiping lingerie at the Victoria’s Secret in Manhattan’s Herald Square. Now, Rodriguez might be facing a murder rap as well.
When police found the dead baby boy after they detected a strong odor emanating from Rodriguez’s shopping bag, she told them she had suffered a miscarriage. “She said she had the baby yesterday,” a source told the Post. “She said it was not full-term. She said she didn’t know what to do with it.”
As the Post reports, the baby’s body was clean, as if it had been washed, but the smell led authorities to believe he had been dead for more than 24 hours.
Rodriguez also has a 2-year-old son at home. Her friend, Francis Estevez, is also believed to have a mother, if her Facebook page, which has multiple photos of her with an infant, is any indication.
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Meanwhile, the entire incident has left onlookers distraught and looking for answers.
“It makes me feel sick. I don’t understand the thought process, to have a baby in a bag and then shoplift,” Erit Maor, a 27-year-old graduate student from Forest Hills, told the Post. “I think it’s very strange that they didn’t shut down the store. I feel a level of disrespect.”
“I think it’s crazy,” Jazmin Barrett, a hostess from the Bronx, told the Post. “It’s a newborn baby in a bag. I just had a baby a month ago and I’m shocked. She needs some psychological help.”
Rodriguez and Estevez are awaiting arraignment at Manhattan Criminal Court.