FORT WORTH, Texas – A woman is accused of trying to flush her stillborn baby's body down a toilet before placing it in a trash can.
Ericka Benitez, 27, was arrested Tuesday on a warrant alleging abuse of a corpse, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, as well as unrelated warrants. She remained jailed Wednesday morning on $7,500 bond.
Police have said Benitez brought the infant's body, wrapped in trash bags, to a Fort Worth hospital about 12:45 a.m. April 17, seeking medical help for herself.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office ruled that the cause of death was stillbirth.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Benitez initially told a detective that she had given birth to the 1.3-pound, 11-inch boy in her apartment April 15 after becoming ill.
She said after the baby fell into the toilet, she removed him and put him in a plastic bag before placing it in the kitchen trash container, the affidavit states. She said she did not check whether the baby was alive, the affidavit states.
But hospital personnel told police that the baby's warm body temperature was not consistent with her story, the affidavit states.
Benitez later told the detective that she had the baby April 16 while on the toilet in her apartment, according to the affidavit.
Benitez told police that when the toilet would not flush, she used a plunger to move the water around and, after seeing the baby, removed him and placed him in a trash can.
A phone number at her apartment had been disconnected. It was unclear if she had an attorney.