Infanticide charge for woman after baby dumping
A 24-year-old woman has been charged with infanticide following the discovery of a dead newborn babygirl at Vailu’utai on Tuesday, the Police Commissioner has confirmed.
More charges are expected to follow, Commissioner Fuiavailiili Egon Keil told the Samoa Observer.
Fuiavailiili said the infant’s cause of death has not yet been determined.
Photos circulating online showed the umbilical cord still attached to the young child when she was discovered.
Meanwhile, Fuiavailiili said the young mother has been released on bail and referred to counseling services to ensure her mental wellbeing is looked after.
The young woman appeared to have been hiding her pregnancy prior to the incident, the Commissioner said.
Medical attention was also sought for the mother to ensure she was properly cleared by medical officers before the Police proceeded with their investigation.
“Once she was cleared by the doctor, she was brought in for questioning and was charged. She was very cooperative,” he said.
Fuiavailiili took the opportunity to remind the public that baby dumping is “not an option.”
“It is hard to put myself in her position but there are resources and options available,” he said.
“There are people out there wanting babies. Bring them to the fire station, to the police, to the hospital. This is not an option.”
Villagers of Vailu’utai who spoke to the Samoa Observer on the condition of anonymity said the body of the infant was discovered in the bushes on Tuesday morning.
Last year in September, the body of a dead newborn baby girl was dumped next to a trash bin at the Mulifanua wharf. The 22-year-old mother was criminally charged.
A month prior, in August 2019, the dead body of a baby boy was discovered floating on the sea at Lauli’i.No one has ever been charged over that incident.
Not-for-profit organisation, Fa’ataua le ola (F.L.O.) Executive Director, Papalii Caroline Paul-Ah Chong said cases of infanticide often involve “extreme emotional disturbance.”
Faataua Le Ola provides frontline services through the activation of a 24/7 free Helpline, advocating for a Samoa that is fully empowered to “value life”.
“Our belief and work is to value life no matter what. The life of this innocent helpless child is of value. However, the life of the perpetrator is of value also and one must try to discern and understand what caused her to abandon her child in the first place,” she said.
“In our society, women are looked down upon for being a pregnant teenager and or a single mother. This could cause a young woman to choose to abandon her child rather than face the consequences and the condemnation of her family, village, church.
“Sadly this young woman will have to answer to the law for her crime, because she has caused her infant baby to die.”
F.L.O. will offer their services to the charged young woman to come to grips with what she has done,