A woman found dead in a Pennsylvania home had been partially eviscerated, her uterus cut open, after another woman showed up at a hospital with a newborn she falsely claimed was hers, a medical examiner said.
An autopsy was performed Saturday on the body of a woman found in the Wilkinsburg apartment of Andrea Curry-Demus, 38, who told police she had paid $1,000 for the baby after authorities said tests proved she wasn't the child's mother.
The victim appeared to have been dead for about two days before she was found, Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams said in a statement.
The woman's hands and feet were bound with duct tape, and her face was covered with a plastic material that had also been secured with duct tape. A placenta was recovered at the apartment.
The medical office would not elaborate on what was meant by "evidence of partial evisceration that included opening of the uterus."
Pathologist Cyril Wecht, who previously served as the county's coroner but did not participate in the autopsy, said evisceration means to cut into the abdomen and remove organs and tissues. "Obviously, they did so to get to the baby," he said.
Some blood was discovered near the body, Williams said, and investigators were trying to determine the woman's identity, how she died and whether she was the mother of the baby that Curry-Demus claimed she had bought.
Police checked Curry-Demus' apartment after reporters called authorities about a foul odor coming from inside. Wilkinsburg Police Chief Ophelia Coleman said the dead woman was lying face down when she was discovered.
Investigators had been at the building Thursday night but did not go into that apartment, Coleman said. Instead, a relative of Curry-Demus led them to another apartment, she said.
Earlier Friday, police said they were concerned that the infant's real mother — described as a thin, black female in her 20s or 30s named Tina — might be in danger or need medical attention.
The description was provided by Curry-Demus, but authorities aren't sure how reliable it is because she "has a history of emotional problems," Coleman said. The body found Friday was that of a black woman, but Williams said he couldn't tell how old she was.
The families of two missing pregnant women waited at the crime scene Friday night for police to identify the body.
County detectives, who are handling the investigation, entered Curry-Demus' apartment Friday night after obtaining a search warrant.
In 1990, Curry-Demus, then known as Andrea Curry, was accused of stabbing a Wilkinsburg woman in an alleged plot to steal the woman's infant.
A day after the stabbing, Curry-Demus snatched a 3-week-old baby girl from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, according to court records reviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The newborn was in the hospital for meningitis and the girl's 16-year-old mother had gone home for the night when Curry-Demus took the child, court records state. The infant was found unharmed with Curry-Demus at her home the next day.
Curry-Demus pleaded guilty in 1991 to various charges stemming from both incidents and was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison. She was paroled in August 1998 and began serving a 10-year probation term, the Tribune-Review reported.
The latest case unfolded when Curry-Demus showed up at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh on Thursday with a newborn baby that still had its umbilical cord attached, according to authorities. Tests later proved she was not the mother — despite her claims to the contrary, police said.
Curry-Demus was initially charged Friday with one count of child endangerment. She was later charged with dealing in infant children, a misdemeanor, according to court records. She has been jailed until she posts $10,000 bond and undergoes a psychiatric exam.
Court records did not indicate if she had obtained an attorney; a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Thursday.
Curry-Demus told police she miscarried in June and didn't want to upset her own mother by telling her she had lost the baby.
She said she befriended a pregnant woman and discussed buying her child when it was born, according to the criminal complaint. She told police she paid a woman named Tina $1,000 for the baby, but authorities have said they don't know how she really got possession of the infant.
A relative and a neighbor both said they had attended a baby shower for Curry-Demus last month.
Stephanie Epps, 41, the suspect's sister-in-law, said she had doubted the pregnancy.
"I just had a feeling that she wasn't pregnant," Epps said. "She would never let you touch her stomach and pregnant women let you do that. ... I liked her and I still do like her."
Ivee Blunt, a neighbor who also was at the shower, said Curry-Demus wanted her in the delivery room when she gave birth.
Blunt said Curry-Demus told her on Sunday night that she expected to have the baby the next day; but on Monday, she said, Curry-Demus told her she wasn't ready to give birth.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.