ALLENTOWN — A Pennsylvania woman is facing criminal homicide charges after her newborn son was found dumped in the toilet tank in the women’s restroom at a local bar.
Reports state that 26-year-old Amanda Hein hid her pregnancy from virtually everyone–including her grandmother, whom she lived with–and concealed the fact that she was in labor the night of the alleged incident.
Hein had accompanied three male acquaintances to Starters Pub in Bethlehem on August 18th to watch a pay-per-view wresting match. During the event, the woman began to complain of back pain and discomfort, and excused herself to go to the restroom. The men with her stated that she was gone for “an extended period of time,” and reports outline that she ignored texts asking her what was wrong.
Hein is believed to have delivered in a stall in the women’s restroom and then wrapped the boy in a plastic garbage bag that she found nearby. She then placed the bag inside of the toilet tank and walked away.
When she returned to the booth, reports state that she grabbed her purse and went outside to smoke a cigarette. She then returned and watched the rest of the wrestling match with the men.
When the cleaning crew had difficulty flushing the toilet the following morning, they lifted the lid on the tank and saw the garbage bag inside, which contained a now-deceased baby boy.
“I’ve been on the phone with the police, and I’ve been on the phone with my church,” bar owner Dave Rank told the Morning Call following the incident. “I mean, this is a devastating thing.”
After finding what appeared to be a blood stain on one of the booths, the pub contacted the man who reserved the seats, Luis Rivera, who said that he offered to take Hein to the hospital when she complained of being in pain, but she refused. He noted that he did see what appeared to be blood on her clothing.
An autopsy conducted last week revealed that the baby was born alive, and was approximately 33 to 36 weeks in gestation. The medical examiner declared that the child died by suffocation.
Hein has now been ordered to be held without bond in the Northampton County Jail. She is facing criminal homicide charges, but reports state that if prosecutors decide to charge the 26-year-old mother with first degree murder, she could receive the death penalty. In Pennsylvania, it is a capital offense to intentionally kill a child under 12 years of age.
“Why [she did this], I don’t know,” District Attorney John Morganelli stated at a news conference on Monday. “But the criminal justice system does have to protect everyone. … Whether it was one hour or 10 minutes old or a year old, it is a person, and this person’s life was taken.”
Pennsylvania is one of a number of states with Safe Haven laws, allowing women to drop off their baby at a hospital with no questions asked in order to avoid criminal charges.