BAYTOWN, Texas – A 14-year-old girl who secretly gave birth in a school bathroom was charged with capital murder Thursday by police, who said she killed the newborn by choking and flushing him in the toilet.
The girl was charged as a juvenile; Baytown police Capt. Roger Clifford said prosecutors will decide whether to certify her as an adult. She cannot be executed if convicted because of her age.
The girl gave birth April 2 in a bathroom at Cedar Bayou Junior High. Police said she stuffed toilet paper in the infant's throat and submerged him in a toilet. An autopsy confirmed the baby was alive and cried before his mother tried to flush him, police Lt. Eric Freed said.
"We have had enough evidence to determine that this action was done intentionally and knowingly," Clifford said. "That means beyond a reasonable doubt in our mind and in mind of the district attorney's office and in mind of the medical examiner's office, that this was not an accident."
The girl's attorney, Gerald Yoakum, said the teen didn't realize she was giving birth. She was 35-36 weeks pregnant.
School officials in this city 26 miles east of Houston learned of her pregnancy when another student who was in the restroom while the eighth-grader was in labor went to ask the school nurse for help.
The nurse and an assistant principal ran to the bathroom, discovered the girl had given birth and called 911.
The Goose Creek school district said it was also investigating what school rules the girl might have broken.
"It's a very sad situation," district spokeswoman Kathy Clausen said. "We're all very concerned and very upset about it."
The infant boy died just three days after another 14-year-old girl delivered a stillborn fetus in the bathroom of an airplane on her way back to Houston from a middle-school field trip.