DALLAS, Texas — The mother of a baby that was found buried in a flower pot at a Texas cemetery last month has been charged with murder after admitting that she engaged in conduct that resulted in the death of the child, whom she sought to hide from her family. She and a friend then bought a flower pot and buried the newborn under the soil and flowers, and left the pot in an area cemetery.
Jazmin Lopez, 18, of Dallas had originally told police that she passed out after giving birth on Feb. 4, and when she regained consciousness, the child was not breathing.
However, according to the Dallas Morning News, investigators soon found photographs of the baby on Lopez’s phone, which indicated that her daughter was not born dead. They also found text messages that indicated that she had considered taking abortion pills, as well as searches for abortion facilities on her phone.
Lopez was questioned again, and her story changed. She stated that she kept her pregnancy a secret from her family, and also surreptitiously sought out an abortion for months.
In February, she gave birth in the bathroom while her father, grandmother and uncle were in the house, according to local television station Fox4 WAPP. However, in order to keep the matter a secret, Lopez covered the baby’s mouth with a shirt so she could not be heard crying, and then held the newborn against herself for one or two minutes.
Lopez then allegedly kept her daughter’s mouth covered while she cleaned up the bathroom, and then put the child in a basket of blankets inside of her closet. Shen ate breakfast and finished cleaning, and put the baby in a backpack when her friend arrived to pick her up.
It was as she did so that she knew the newborn was no longer alive, she told police.
“Jazmin said when she got down to her friend’s vehicle she knew for sure that the baby was no longer alive. Jazmin stated, ‘She wasn’t moving like she was before,’” an affidavit states.
The two then drove to Home Depot, where they purchased a flower pot and flowers, buried the deceased newborn inside and left the pot inside of the friend’s car overnight. The next day, they drove to the Perry Cemetery in Carrollton and placed the pot in between two headstones.
It remained there for one month before being discovered by a caretaker.
As previously reported, on March 11, a grounds caretaker noticed the flower pot being “out of place,” and went to empty it out. That’s when he discovered an infant buried underneath the soil.
The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the baby as being a girl, between 34 weeks gestation to full term, and weighing just under six pounds. Her umbilical cord was still attached.
Lopez came forward after seeing a report on the matter in the media as police had asked for help from the public.
Fox4 states that Lopez asserted to police that she only meant to keep the baby from being heard by anyone in the house and did not mean to kill her. However, authorities believe that the teen had no plans to care for the infant, and note that she did not seek any medical help for the newborn.
Lopez has been charged with capital murder and is being held on $500,000 bond.
As previously reported, Texas has a safe haven law in place that allows mothers of newborns to surrender their children at a local hospital, emergency medical services provider, or welfare agency up to sixty days after birth without any criminal penalties.
“The designated emergency infant care provider has no legal duty to ascertain the parent’s identity, an the parent may remain anonymous,” the law also states. “However, the parent may be given a form for voluntary disclosure of the child’s medical facts and history.”
It also mandates that “[e]ach designated emergency care provider shall post in a conspicuous location a notice stating that the provider is a designated emergency infant care provider location and will accept possession of a child.”
A bill had been put forward this legislative season that would have removed an exemption from current Texas homicide law surrounding the “conduct committed by” mothers in the death of the unborn. House Bill 896 was not permitted to proceed as Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, the chair of the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence, expressed apprehension over charging mothers who obtain abortions with a crime.
Under Texas law, had Lopez killed her daughter in utero, she would not be facing a murder penalty, but since the child had exited the birth canal, she has consequently been charged with homicide. H.B. 896 sought to eliminate this disparity and give the unborn equal protection under the law.