Suffocation Cause Of Death For Turlock Newborn

TURLOCK, Calif. (AP) - Stanislaus County authorities say the official cause of death for an infant left in a garbage bin in November is suffocation.

Deputy District Attorney Annette Rees says the coroner ruled that the baby, posthumously named Maria Mae Betts, died from "asphyxiation by suffocation." Her body was found inside a plastic bag behind a Turlock grocery store.

Police later traced the baby to 19-year-old Jessica Betts, who told police she delivered the baby in her boyfriend's bathroom. Her mother turned her in after reading diaries in which Betts allegedly wrote of a past pregnancy and the possible disposal of that newborn, too.

Betts has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder. She faces life in prison if convicted.

The boyfriend told police he was unaware she was ever pregnant.
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Information from: The Modesto Bee, http://www.modbee.com

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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