THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Pregnant Worcester woman slain, baby cut from body

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By John M. Guilfoil and Maria Chutchian
Globe Correspondents / July 29, 2009

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A Worcester woman’s body, wrapped in bedding, was discovered by her landlord earlier this week. But in a more grisly turn, police said the woman, Darlene Haynes, 23, had been eight months pregnant, and someone cut the fetus from her body.

Haynes was last seen July 23, police said. On Monday, residents in her building on Southgate Street called the landlord to report a strong odor coming from her second-floor apartment. The victim’s body was found in a bedroom closet, police said.

Haynes’s body was so mangled and decomposed that police said they could not immediately identify her gender.

The body was taken to the medical examiner’s office in Boston, and an autopsy conducted yesterday confirmed that she had been killed and that the fetus had been cut from her womb. The cause of death was not yet known, but Worcester Detective Captain Edward J. McGinn Jr. told the Telegram & Gazette that Haynes had also sustained head trauma.

“Detectives are searching for this fetus,’’ police said in a statement last night.

The Telegram & Gazette also reported that Haynes was the mother of a year-old girl, whom she had dropped off at her boyfriend’s house July 23. The child is now with Haynes’s relatives, the newspaper reported.

The Telegram & Gazette identified the boyfriend as Roberto C. Rodriguez, 24. Haynes had an active restraining order against her longtime boyfriend, whom she accused of pushing her into a glass table on June 24, and ripping the phone off the wall so she could not call police, the newspaper said.

Rodriguez is not named as a suspect in Haynes’s slaying.

He is due in court tomorrow to answer to charges of aggravated assault and battery and intimidation of a witness in the June 24 case. In a statement released by Worcester police, the medical examiner’s office said that Haynes’s baby could have survived but that it would require immediate medical attention.

Worcester police are investigating. Anyone with information on the case or the whereabouts of the baby is urged to call Worcester detectives at 508-799-8651.

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at jguilfoil@globe.com