CLEVELAND — The mother of two twin babies who were found dead in a trash can in Cleveland this past weekend was arraigned on multiple charges Tuesday morning.
The arraignment of the 16-year-old female is took place around 10:30 a.m. in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. An initial criminal complaint had her facing nine felony charges related to the incident, including murder, child endangerment, tampering with evidence, and gross abuse of a corpse.
However, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office has since confirmed to 3News that the murder charges have since been dropped in favor of involuntary manslaughter, with officials calling the lesser charges "more appropriate" for this case. In addition, there are now only two counts of child endangering as well as two counts of gross abuse of a corpse and one count of tampering with evidence, bringing the current complaint to seven counts total.
An arraignment hearing for the new charges has been scheduled for June 1. A pre-trial hearing will take place on June 8.
Police officials previously told WKYC that officers responded to the 2800 block of Ludlow Road for two infant fatalities on Saturday. According to a police report, the mother of a 16-year-old girl called 911 after finding the babies in the trash, and she claimed to authorities her daughter admitted to giving birth to the children before she "threw the babies in the garbage."
Residents in the community told us that they heard babies crying Thursday evening on the night they were allegedly born, but did not suspect anything was wrong. The caller claimed she did not even know her daughter was pregnant, and authorities now say the infants appeared to have been about 30 weeks gestation at the time of their birth.
Bedford police later located the teen suspect receiving treatment at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center. She was later transferred to UH's main campus and is being monitored by Cleveland officers.
In the wake of the babies being found, representatives from the Cleveland Fire Department want to remind the public that they can provide a "safe haven" for mother with unwanted babies. A safe haven that not only could have prevented this tragic incident, but is mandated under Ohio state law.
According to Ohio.gov, the safe haven law allows a parent to leave an infant (up to 30 days old) with the following authorized personnel:
- A medical worker in a hospital
- A medical worker at a fire department or other emergency service organization
- A peace officer at a law enforcement agency
Mike Norman with Cleveland Fire told 3News, "We are here for people on the worst day of their lives. That order explains how to receive the baby, how to arrange for the transport to a medical facility care for the mother."
At this time, the suspect is not being charged as an adult, so 3News is not revealing her identity. Police and prosecutors are continuing their investigation.