HARRISBURG, Pa. – A Brazilian woman who worked as a nanny in Pennsylvania was ordered to stand trial on a homicide charge in the death of the baby she delivered in her employer's basement.
At a hearing Thursday, Dauphin County prosecutors said Ana Amelia Santos Cuoco knew she was pregnant and booked a trip that suggested she did not plan to be a mother.
"She intended to travel to Florida in December without being encumbered by a child," First Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo said.
The suburban Harrisburg couple who hired Cuoco in March said they did not know the short, stocky woman was pregnant.
Cuoco told investigators she suspected she was pregnant when she left Brazil, but did not take a pregnancy test. Prosecutors, however, have a copy of an ultrasound that they say was performed on her Feb. 23 in Brazil.
She gave birth to the baby boy on Aug. 7, and the family discovered the child's body in a bag in a closet the next day, authorities said. A forensic pathologist, Wayne K. Ross, testified that the baby was born alive and died of complications of asphyxia from a hand over his mouth and nose, from a blanket or towel, or from the plastic bag.
Lawrence Bartel, a county senior deputy public defender, called the baby's death "a horrific accident."
Bartel said he would present separate medical testimony to rebut Ross' conclusions about the manner of death.
At the conclusion of Thursday's hearing, District Judge Joseph Lindsey ordered Cuoco to stand trial on three counts: homicide, abuse of corpse and concealing the death of a child. She was being held without bail in Dauphin County Prison.