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May 12, 2006

Young mother charged w/ killing her newborn baby

Story PictureIt’s a strange story and many details are still unclear, but today police reported they have unearthed a dead baby and arrested the mother. What happened and why would be hard to fathom at any time, but to hear about such a situation just two days before the celebration of motherhood is all the more heartbreaking. I was on the scene this afternoon.

Jacqueline Godwin, Reporting
The badly decomposed body of the newborn was found wrapped inside this four foot hole. The remains were wrapped in this towel and placed in a small cardboard box that was placed in a black plastic bag. A post mortem was conducted at the site that has led police to strongly believe the child was alive at the time of birth. Today twenty-year old Maritza Gonzales was arrested and charged with the manslaughter of her son and the concealment of the body of a child.

?Mister Williams first of all how did the police find out that this woman gave birth to a child??

A.S.P. Chester Williams
?First of all Jackie, it was a joint effort between the Crimes Investigation Branch and the Domestic Violence base in Belize City. We received information about two day ago and subsequent to the information we followed up on it. And we managed to locate some people who were also helpful to us during the investigation. One of the person led us to the area near mile six and a half on the Northern Highway.?

?The post mortem was done on the spot. Dr. Estradaban confirmed that the corpse found was that of a human being, a newly born child and he has taken samples for testing to verify more or less the age of the child.?

Assistant Superintendent of Police and the head of the Crimes Investigation Branch Chester Williams says it is one of the most disturbing cases they have investigated.

A.S.P. Chester Williams
?What we gathered during the investigation is that the mother gave birth to this child sometime during the Easter holiday, and the child was born alive and she left the child to die. After the child died she placed the child in a box, along with some friends and her sister she took the child up the Northern Highway where they buried the child.?

Jacqueline Godwin
?What do you mean she left the child to die>?

A.S.P. Chester Williams
?From what we gather from the investigation is that after the child was born, a friend that who was at the house along with her told her to take the child to the doctor along with herself, and she said no and just leave the child there. And as soon as the child died they placed the child in a box and took the child up the road. It sounds very inhumane and as police officers, law enforcement we are not going to condone such crimes we will put it before the court, and let the court decide what to be her faith later on.?

Jacqueline Godwin
?The reason the child needed to be taken to a doctor was for regular general medical check-up or the child was sick??

A.S.P. Chester Williams
?We can not say if the child was sick because it was a newly born child, but normally if a child is born it must be delivered by a mid-wife or a legal medical practitioner. And in this case there was none present at the home, so the most appropriate thing for her to have done then was seek medical attention urgently. And that was not done.?

Jacqueline Godwin
?The press release is saying that you are looking for another person, who is that person??

A.S.P. Chester Williams
?The other person is the sister of Ms. Gonzalez. We have received information that she is residing in San Pedro, and we have informed the San Pedro police to try and see if they can locate her for us. So far it is fruitless but the endeavour to locate her is continuing.?

?According to our laws any person who conceals a body of a child whether it is born alive or not, with the fact of trying to conceal the existence or the birth or death of the child or the circumstances to the child?s death is guilty of a crime. That is concealment of the body of a child. Now that we have evidence that the child was born alive and she left the child to die that itself constitutes the crime of manslaughter. It could have been murder likewise but we prefer going with manslaughter. If the D.D.P. directs otherwise later we might be adding additional charges.?

Police say the baby boy was born at the mother?s residence in Belize City. At this time they do not know if the child?s father may have been involved, or even knows about the birth of his son.

Martiza Gonzalez appeared before Magistrate Margaret McKenzie late this afternoon and was granted bail of five thousand dollars. The case was adjourned to June fifteenth.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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