Woman Killed Pregnant Woman And Cut Out Her Baby
| |A Wisconsin woman who already had three children and was desperate to have one with her new boyfriend was today charged with killing a pregnant mother, cutting out her baby and passing off the child as her own.
The criminal complaint filed today details the horrific story behind the murder of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz, 23, who was expecting her fourth child that she had planned to name Omar.
Her alleged killer, Annette Morales-Rodriguez, admitted she had scoured the suburban Milwaukee neighbourhood for two weeks looking for a pregnant woman whose child she could steal and call her own.
Maritza Ramirez-Cruz had three children and was expecting her fourth when she was savagely murdered on Thursday:
On October 6, she saw Maritza Ramirez-Cruz - a total stranger - and offered her a ride.
When she got in the car, however, Morales-Rodriguez said she needed to go back to her home to change her shoes, and Ramirez-Cruz followed her in to use the bathroom.
It was when she came out of the toilet that Morales-Rodriguez allegedly attacked her with a baseball bat, striking her in the head several times.
With Ramirez-Cruz on the ground, her attacker choked her until she passed out, and cut her open, attempting a Cesaerean section that she had seen done on the Discovery Channel, according to the complaint.
Annette Morales-Rodriguez is accused of murdering Maritza Ramirez-Cruz then savagely cutting out her unborn child:
Morales-Rodriguez then hid the body in her basement.
Later that evening, emergency services responded to a call from Morales-Rodriguez, who said that she had just given birth to a child who was not breathing, according to the criminal complaint.
Paramedics were unable to revive the boy and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Morales-Rodriguez was taken to the hospital but, after an autopsy of the full-term baby - and medical examinations of the woman herself, it was determined that she was not pregnant and had not recently given birth.
Police Chief Edward Flynn said: 'During the ensuing investigations, detectives determined that the 33-year-old woman was not, in fact, the birth mother of the baby.'
The next day, police returned to Morales-Rodriguez's home and found Ramirez-Cruz's mutilated body.
The medical examiner determined that Ramirez-Cruz likely died from excessive loss of blood.
Local residents and neighbours have been shocked by the brutal killing, and many cannot believe police have the right person in custody.
On Sunday night, the victim's husband, Christian Mercado, told WTMJ that his wife was a 'good person.'
Because he doesn't speak English, Mr Mercado's stepmother Darla Guiterrez translated for him.
She said: 'We still can't believe it. We know it's true but we can't believe it and the whole family is taking it real hard.'
Jacqueline Bonilla, whose daughter lives next-door to Morales-Rodriguez, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 'She was acting like she was [pregnant].
'She'd push her belly out and I'd say, "Oh, she's pregnant."'
Another neighbour, Keila Perez, claimed the Morales-Rodriguez is the godmother to her daughter.
'From what I know she had a baby, she had baby stuff in there, she has a car seat and everything in there. I don't know what the hell is going on.'
Morales-Rodriguez lived in the property with a man and her three children, but police said no-one else is being considered as an accomplice.
Neighbours said Morales-Rodriguez claimed to have been pregnant for months.
Ms Perez said Morales-Rodriguez had been talking about pregnancy, and had even shown her a sonogram of the baby.
She claimed she was expecting to deliver the baby by Caesarean section in the coming weeks but had called Ms Perez around noon on Thursday to say she was having contractions.
She said the woman's three other children ranged in age from five to 14, and her current boyfriend was not their father.
She added that Morales-Rodriguez had lived in the neighbourhood for seven years, after moving from Puerto Rico.
Similar cases of women taking an unborn child from a mother's womb were reported in Massachusetts and Oregon in 2009, in Pennsylvania in 2007, in Illinois in 2006 and Missouri in 2004.
In the Oregon case, a woman obsessed with having a baby pleaded guilty last year to the murder of a pregnant woman whose unborn child was cut from her abdomen after she was bludgeoned to death.
Korena Roberts, 29, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In Massachusetts, a Worcester woman, Julie Corey, pleaded not guilty to killing her pregnant friend, Darlene Hayes, and cutting the baby from Hayes' womb.
Corey and the baby were found in a homeless shelter in Plymouth, N.H., in July 2009, just days after Hayes was found dead with a fractured skull.