May 20, 2011
LITTLE CHUTE — She denied it.
For months, there were whispers she was pregnant. Classmates spotted her boyfriend buying a pregnancy test at Walmart in the fall, plus she had gained weight.
But she denied it, flatly.
The 17-year-old Kimberly High School junior who police say abandoned her newborn daughter on a chilly Monday evening told Fox Valley Metro Police last Friday that she had never been pregnant, according to a police report that vividly recounts how she and her 18-year-old boyfriend responded to a flesh and blood dilemma.
The couple had been sexually active for some time, she told Officer Jeremy Slotke, but she was never pregnant. Her boyfriend had gone to Walmart — that much was true. But the test was negative.
Slotke, whose report The Post-Crescent obtained Thursday from Fox Valley Metro Police, asked the teen if she would offer a DNA sample to prove she wasn’t the mother.
She fell silent, staring at the floor.
“This is your baby, isn’t it?” Slotke asked.
She nodded her head.
The 17-year-old first realized she might be pregnant around October, and the store-bought test confirmed her fears.
Dreading how her aunt and uncle would react, she denied to herself she was pregnant, and later told her boyfriend she had suffered a miscarriage. The Post-Crescent is not naming the girl or her boyfriend because the district attorney was still weighing Thursday whether to charge them. Police have recommended a charge of child abandonment.
Even after the girl’s period stopped — even after she could feel the baby kicking — she couldn’t bring herself to accept the truth.
As she grew from 130 pounds to 160 pounds, she blanketed her belly beneath oversized sweats, and starved herself to stay as thin as possible for as long as possible.
During a routine physical exam about seven or eight months into the pregnancy, her doctor never detected the child. So, when asked, the teen lied and told the physician that her menstrual cycle was normal.
Sunday, May 8, she awoke at 3 a.m. with severe cramps, which she deluded herself into believing was her period’s long-awaited return. When the pain subsided, she went to work at a Fox Cities supper club, alongside her boyfriend.
But the cramps came back at 2:30 a.m. the next day with such strength that she asked her aunt and uncle if she could skip school, citing her period. They agreed.
Her boyfriend came to visit during lunch hour, and she asked him to bring her a heating pad to help soothe the cramps. He did and returned to school.
By 3 p.m., she was in labor.
Home alone, she crawled into a first-floor bathtub and began to push.
Some 40 minutes later, she held her daughter for a moment, and then walked to her room to grab a pair of scissors. After cutting the umbilical cord, she pinched it to stanch the bleeding.
She called her boyfriend, who could hear the baby screaming in the background.
By the time he arrived at her front door 10 minutes later, she had cleaned and wrapped the dark-haired girl in a green towel.
Fearful his girlfriend’s uncle would soon come home, he took his newborn daughter, lay her on the passenger seat of his car and left.
As he drove, he called his girlfriend, who directed him to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. But once there, fear crippled him.
Wouldn’t doctors ask questions? His girlfriend was 17 and he was 18 — could he face criminal charges for having sex with her?
He left, traveling northeast up Newberry Street toward Kimberly. He drove past a church, deciding not to stop when he saw a car in the parking lot.
He continued on Newberry until he reached Fox Valley Christian Fellowship at 1200 W. Kimberly Ave. about 4:30 p.m. The lights were on and cars were parked outside, so he drove to the Fulcer Avenue side of the building, where he figured no one would see him.
He placed his daughter on the ground near a dumpster, hoping someone would eventually find her. He honked his car horn, expecting it would summon someone from inside, and drove away.
About 7:30 p.m., after rugby practice, he drove back to the dumpster to see if the baby was still there. She wasn’t.
As he waited for his children to finish a piano lesson, Daren Hansen of Darboy took his dog for a walk on Fulcer Avenue about 6:30 p.m.
The dog saw the green towel first and led Hansen to the baby.
Without touching the child, Hansen raced to a nearby house and told the residents to call the authorities, who took the baby to St. Elizabeth Hospital.
Doctors said she appeared healthy, though her body temperature had fallen below 90 degrees. The crisp night air had caused the blood in her umbilical cord to clot, possibly saving the baby’s life. If it had been warmer, doctors said she likely would have bled through the opening.
When the 17-year-old junior returned to school Tuesday visibly thinner, the whispers morphed into anonymous tips.
After investigating other leads, police arrived at Kimberly High School that Friday to ask her about the pregnancy rumors.
And at first she denied it.