LEXINGTON, S.C. — A South Carolina woman has been arrested and charged with homicide by child abuse after allegedly giving birth in her car, and then leaving her baby in a trash bag on the floorboard to die.
Brennan Geller, 21, is believed to have delivered the baby in her car on the night of Aug. 3, and then placed the newborn in a trash bag and drove home.
She went to the hospital the following morning, where she was treated for blood loss.
“We became aware of this tragic case after Geller was treated at the hospital Saturday morning for blood loss,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon outlined in a statement. “The medical team caring for Geller told investigators she never told them the baby was in her car.”
The baby was found in Geller’s car hours later.
She was arrested on Aug. 6 and charged with homicide by child abuse for failing to provide medical care for her newborn. Geller faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted, according to reports.
South Carolina has a safe haven law that allows mothers to leave their newborn babies, up to 30 days old, at a hospital, fire station, police station or church without prosecution.
“A distressed parent who is unable or unwilling to care for their infant can give up custody of their baby, no questions asked. They must simply bring the infant to a safe haven location and make sure they locate a person to give the child. As long as the child shows no signs of intentional abuse, no name or other information is required,” a website dedicated to the state’s safe haven law outlines.
As previously reported, a woman in Texas was most recently charged with attempted capital murder after she gave birth at her place of employment, and then put her newborn son in a garbage bag and disposed of him in the dumpster. The child lived as the woman’s supervisor quickly called police. Texas also has a safe haven law.
In an introductory lecture to his course on obstetrics in 1854, Philadelphia doctor Hugh Lennox Hodge lamented that even the mothers of his day were lacking of natural affection toward their own children and sought out means to kill them.
“They seem not to realize that the being within them is indeed animate, that is, in verity, a human being—body and spirit—that it is of importance, that its value is inestimable, having reference to this world and the next,” he said. “They act with as much indifference as if the living, intelligent, immortal existence lodged within their organs were of no more value than the bread eaten, or the common excretions of the system.”
“[S]he recklessly and boldly adopts measures, however severe and dangerous, for the accomplishment of her unnatural, her guilty purpose … that she may be delivered of [a child] for which she has no desire, and whose birth and appearance she dreads.”