A newborn baby girl who officials believe was ripped from the womb of a slain Worcester woman is back in Massachusetts and in good health as authorities continue to investigate the killing, law enforcement authorities said today.
No murder charges have been filed yet, but a woman who allegedly kidnapped the baby is being held in a New Hampshire jail in lieu of $2 million bail.
The baby is receiving excellent care at a hospital, Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. said at a news conference this afternoon. He would not disclose which hospital. A hearing will be held in Juvenile Court Monday to determine who gets custody of the baby.
Authorities believe that the baby belonged to 23-year-old Darlene Haynes, who was found dead Monday in a closet in her Worcester apartment. DNA tests are scheduled over the next few days to verify the connection, Early said, briefing reporters on what he said was a horrific crime and complex investigation.
Julia Corey, 35, of Worcester faces a charge of kidnapping in Massachusetts for allegedly taking the baby. Corey appeared via video link in Concord (N.H.) District Court today to face a charge of being a fugitive from justice. Corey wore an orange prison jumpsuit and a public defender stood by her side in the video image, which was beamed in from the Merrimack County jail.
Judge Gerard J. Boyle set a further hearing for Aug. 30. Boyle agreed to a prosecution request to seal a sworn statement by an officer supporting the charge against Corey after prosecutors argued that release of the affidavit could compromise the investigation.
Corey, an acquaintance of Haynes's, was arrested after she was questioned late last night by authorities in Plymouth, N.H.
Corey had told friends in recent days that she had delivered a baby some time last Thursday night into Friday morning at a Massachusetts hospital, which she did not identify. The claim raised suspicions among her friends, who did not know that she was pregnant. Those friends alerted Worcester detectives after news broke about the Haynes slaying, the Globe reported today .
Early said that Corey and her boyfriend lived on Henry Terrace in Worcester and had gone to New Hampshire to visit relatives.
The baby was brought to Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, N.H., by an ambulance at about 5:50 p.m Wednesday, hospital spokeswoman Michele Hutchins said this afternoon. The baby was checked out by an emergency room doctor and a pediatrician and found to be in good health. The hospital is calling her "Baby Jane Doe."
"She's had no visitors. And no calls," said Hutchins.
A spokesman for Haynes's family said this morning that they were breathing a sigh of relief after learning of the recovery of the baby.
"It's just a miracle that everything worked out as well as it did," said Karl Whitney, Haynes's uncle. "Right now, it's the best ending to a very sad and tragic situation."
The good news about the baby came as the family was working out funeral arrangements for Haynes.
The arrest was a quick turnaround for investigators who were initially baffled by the gruesome killing and abduction, and who had learned only Tuesday night - a day after the body was found - that the baby had been cut from Haynesís womb when she was killed.
"I'm very amazed and happy that the Worcester Police Department were able to react so quickly," Whitney said.
Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
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