A 15-year-old girl was charged in the death of a newborn found in the trash earlier this week, according to officials.
Jani Morris, the teen, was arrested by police after her newborn son was found near trash bags, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. She was charged with murder, endangering welfare, and related offenses.
Police originally said they had been contacted on New Year’s Eve after a woman told them she discovered a baby inside a dumpster in the Swampoodle section of Philadelphia, according to the report.
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The woman and the baby were taken to Temple University Hospital, where the infant was pronounced dead at 10:37 p.m. local time.
Officials believe Morris killed the child and placed it in a dumpster, reported ABC7.
Police said they found the teen and her mother in their nearby home. Officials said they think it’s where the teen gave birth, according to the ABC affiliate report.
Diane Byrd, a local, told the paper that she was walking outside when she spotted a woman looking for help
“She stopped in the street and was saying could someone help her find this baby, her daughter put it in the trash,” Byrd recalled.
The woman, Byrd added, was checking trash bags near the sidewalk. There wasn’t a dumpster, she said, as was originally reported.
When she saw the child, Byrd said, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,” she told the paper.
“We don’t know when she did it,” Byrd added. “We don’t know how she did it.”
Byrd said she attempted to call 911 but couldn’t get through.
“She was screaming,” Byrd said. “And then she put the baby in the backseat of her car.”
“I just saw a bunch of cops over there, taped off by the lot,” said neighbor Patsy Ann of the incident, ABC7 reported. “I called my neighbor and they said a baby was found in the lot.”
Another neighbor was saddened by the development.
“It’s hurtful, that’s what it is. Very hurtful,” noted Dawn Jackson. “Maybe she was scared and didn’t know what to do.”
Now, police want to know if someone saw what had happened.
“Those are things that investigators will look at, who else may have been complicit. I am not, just to be clear, presuming that that is the case, but that is certainly something that investigators want to understand and get knowledge of,” said Capt. Sekou Kinebrew.
Morris will be likely held without bail due to the murder charge, said the district attorney’s office.
Morris is “just a baby herself. But she still should have had enough common sense to not do that. There are plenty of people who have kids young. I had mine young,” Byrd told the Inquirer.
Kinebrew added that the teen’s mother has been cooperating in the investigation.
“It’s a tragic set of circumstances all around,” he said.