EXCLUSIVE: Baby born during Hurricane Irma found dead in mom’s car


The body of a boy born prematurely during Hurricane Irma was found days later in his mother’s car, according to Florida Department of Children and Families records.

At about 9 Thursday night — four days after the delivery — the mother went to St. Mary’s Medical Center because she was bleeding, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and DCF records.

Hospital staff contacted the sheriff’s office’s special victims units when they learned the woman had given birth. She claimed the baby was born alive.

The mother, who is in her mid-20s, likely gave birth Sunday, Sept. 10, at home when Irma most strongly was felt in Palm Beach County. DCF records mention allegations that the mother hid the body and didn’t tell anyone about the birth.

DCF records list the infant’s date of death as Sept. 10.

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The baby’s body was found four days later in his mother’s car. It is unclear where in the county the car was.

The county’s Medical Examiner’s Office took the body and completed an autopsy report, according to DCF records. Authorities are waiting for the results of a toxicology report to determine whether the infant was born alive.

The sheriff’s office will determine whether anyone will face criminal charges in the case after the Medical Examiner’s Office determines the cause of death.

Less than a month before the delivery, the woman was at St. Mary’s where staff confirmed she was pregnant and estimated the baby was between 29 and 33 weeks along, DCF records state.

State authorities said DCF hadn’t interacted with either the infant or his mother. However, a report released Wednesday indicates the family previously had been on DCF’s radar, though the details of that interaction is redacted from the report.

MORE: Florida’s first responders to child abuse overwhelmed by workload

That infant’s death is the 13th child death this year in Palm Beach County that the state is investigating. An infant died last month less than a day after he went to a hospital with breathing problems and was released with only eye drops.

DCF looks into child deaths that are called into the Florida Abuse Hotline and suspected to be the result of caregiver abuse, neglect or abandonment.

The last reported case of a newborn death in Palm Beach County through the hotline was in October 2015. The baby, born to a 17-year-old mother who didn’t know she was pregnant, was found unresponsive in a home after the mother was rushed to a hospital, state records indicate. The teen delivered the baby in a bathroom.

Staff researcher Melanie Mena contributed to this report.



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