Katrina Kegelman, aged 24, was arrested in April and charged with child neglect after she was reported by a friend for giving birth in her backyard, smoking crack during labour, and then hiding the child under a plant when confronted about it. Police are now saying the charges could be upgraded after the child in question passed away in hospital over the weekend.
Kegelman, who was a transient without a permanent address, was spotted by an old friend named Carrie Meeks who was in her house at the time and spotted Kegelman walking past. Carrie called out to Kegelman and invited her into her home to get some clean clothes, have a shower, and a hot meal. However, Kegelman went into the house’s backyard and proceeded to give birth on the patio. When she returned Carrie noticed that she was covered in blood and had tucked the baby away into her pants. Kegelman then begged Carrie not to phone the police or emergency services, but Carrie managed to get away long enough to call anyway after telling Kegelman she was phoning a friend.
When the first-responders arrived they found that Kegelman had hid the baby under a plant in an attempt to get away with the homebirth. Kegelman later admitted to smoking crack cocaine immediately before and during the labour. At the time both mother and newborn were taken into hospital and were stabilised by doctors. Kegelman admitted to her crimes and told police she had tried hiding the baby to keep herself from being arrested for drug possession.
“There's not a drug in this world that could have made me stash my baby in the bushes and then lie to people and tell them it's not there,” said Meeks. “I couldn't imagine doing that with my baby.”
Unfortunately the child passed away not long afterwards and an autopsy was performed on the same day. Police did not reveal the autopsy results, however arrest records show that Kegelman’s charge list was updated to include both neglect of a child and domestic battery suggesting the child died of injuries attributable to her actions.