Woman Suspected of Cutting Baby From Massachusetts Mom's Womb Held on $2M Bail

A woman suspected of carving a nearly full-term baby girl from her friend's womb and passing the newborn off as her own was being held on $2 million bail Thursday.

Julie Corey, 35, has been charged as a fugitive from justice. She appeared in district court in New Hampshire via video from the county jail, a day after she was arrested at a homeless shelter in the state, allegedly with the live infant.

The baby is said to be "in fairly good health," police said. The infant's mother, 23-year-old Darlene Haynes, was about 8 months pregnant when she was killed.

Corey did not waive extradition to be brought back to Massachusetts. The judge scheduled a hearing for Aug. 30.

She said little during the hearing, at which Judge Gerald Boyle ordered all police affidavits in the case sealed.

LIVESHOTS: Tragedy and One Small Blessing

Corey and male friend Alex Dion, 27, were arrested Wednesday after they were found with the child in the Plymouth, N.H., shelter, according to police in Worcester, Mass.

Neighbors say Corey and Dion used to live in the same building and knew Haynes through her boyfriend. Dion was taken into custody and released to a family member.

The infant was fully dressed, wearing diapers and seemed to have been fed, Lt. Stephen Vachon of Plymouth Fire and Rescue told the Union Leader.

The baby girl was in good condition at Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, where she was brought in at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Hospital spokeswoman Michele Hutchins said the staff was working with police and state child protection authorities to resolve legal and custody issues for the baby, who is just days old.

Authorities said they became suspicious of Corey after she told friends she had given birth Thursday night or Friday morning at a Massachusetts hospital and appeared with a newborn girl in Worcester on Friday.

"Some friends became a little concerned about how she got home so early after just giving birth," Worcester Police Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst said.

Detectives began looking for the woman and determined that she and a companion had relocated to New Hampshire.

The Union Leader said Corey arrived at a Plymouth homeless shelter Tuesday night, telling workers there that the girl was 6 days old and identifying herself as the mother. But she had no information on the child, according to the paper.

"I knew something was funny last night," a worker told the Union Leader. She said she heard the story about Haynes on the news that night and "something went up in the back of my neck." She said she spoke to her supervisor the next morning.

Corey was arrested Wednesday afternoon as she tried to leave the shelter with the infant after staff alerted police. Corey grew uncomfortable and suspicious when a nurse began photographing the baby with her cell phone, the worker told the Union Leader.

"She had a lot of post-traumatic stress and was obviously not a well woman," the employee said. "She said a child had been taken from her before, and it's not going to happen again."

Worcester investigators have probable cause to charge Corey with homicide and kidnapping, state police told the newspaper.

Detective Capt. Edward J. McGinn Jr. said Corey insists she gave birth to the baby, whom she named Alida, but shows no signs of having recently delivered a child, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. She is also unable to breast-feed, he told the paper.

"The baby had a ribbon tied around the umbilical cord — not your normal umbilical cord-severing device, and with that it's pretty certain this is the baby from the murdered woman," Lt. Terry Kinneen, of the New Hampshire State Police, told WMUR-TV in Concord on Thursday.

Haynes' aunt, Sandra Grandmaison, said she and Haynes' immediate family don't know Corey, according to the Boston Herald. But investigators confirmed the two women were acquaintances.

Liz Hitson, one of the victim's neighbors, said the pair were friendly because Corey claimed her due date was within a month of when Haynes was to give birth, the paper said.

Agnes Brady, a neighbor, said Corey knew Haynes through the dead woman's longtime on-again, off-again boyfriend, Roberto "Tito" Rodriguez.

She described Corey as very friendly, and recalled her once baking a lasagna for all of the neighbors in the apartment building. Brady's son, Randy LaRose, said Corey had an 11-year-old son from a previous relationship who also lived in the apartment.

Haynes was found dead Monday in a closet in her apartment in Worcester. Her body was wrapped in a comforter, and her unborn daughter, whom family said she planned to name Sheila Marie, had been cut out and taken.

Haynes, who was last seen alive on July 23, had been dead for several days when her decomposing body was found by her landlord, William Thompson, who was responding to a report of a "horrifying smell" coming from inside. The body was so mutilated that police said they couldn't immediately determine her gender.

A neighbor told the Herald that she heard Haynes crying out on July 23 during what may have been the deadly attack.

“I heard that girl screaming,” said Fran Oswell. “Mostly it was, ‘Leave me alone. Stop it.’ She was screaming in pain.” She said she also heard a man screaming.

Thompson said Haynes had taken her 1-year-old daughter, Christina, Rodriguez's home last Thursday, according to the Telegram, and the girl now is with relatives.

Haynes had two other children, Jasmine, 4, and Lilliana, 3, who live with her grandmother, the Boston Herald reported.

She suffered head injuries in the attack. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide, but the exact cause won't be known until toxicology tests are complete.

Rodriguez, against whom Haynes had an active restraining order, said he was distraught over her killing.

"I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't think,” Rodriguez, 24, told the Telegram on Wednesday. "She hung out with the wrong crowd simply 'cause she wanted to fit in."

Police say they have interviewed Rodriguez and he wasn't a suspect in Haynes' murder or the theft of her child. It isn't clear who the baby's father is.

But the couple apparently had a tumultuous relationship.

Rodriguez was facing charges of aggravated assault and battery and intimidation of a witness stemming from a June 24 incident in which Haynes accused him of pushing her into a glass table and disconnecting the phone to stop her from calling police.

Court records also show that Rodriguez was charged with hitting Haynes in 2008 in a separate case that was continued without a finding.

Thompson said Rodriguez moved out of the apartment last month.

Haynes had also been married for a few years to Ghana-born Kofi Brefo Awuah, the Telegram reported. Her 47-year-old husband filed for divorce on April 9, citing an "irretrievable breakdown," but the couple were still listed as married, according to court papers.

They had no children and stopped living together in early March but were scheduled to appear in court in November, the Telegram said. Court records show Haynes worked as a cashier but was receiving public assistance, according to the paper.

Grandmaison, 58, told the Herald she last talked to her niece two weeks ago. She said she was a troubled young woman who never graduated from high school or developed mentally.

"She was a very sad, very young girl who never really grew up," said Grandmaison. "Darlene does not have the know-how or the ability to sense danger."

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.