WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - A pregnant woman was found dead in her
apartment with her fetus cut from her womb, and police on Wednesday
were trying to find the missing baby, which they said could have
Authorities said 23-year-old Darlene Haynes was about eight months pregnant and the child would have needed immediate medical attention to survive.
Haynes' body was found Monday by her landlord, William Thompson,
who said a "horrifying smell" led him to her, where he found her body wrapped in bedding in a closet. Police said the victim had apparently been dead for several days, and that she hadn't contacted family or friends since Thursday. It was not until an autopsy on Tuesday that authorities discovered the fetus was missing.
"When we stood over there on Monday we could smell it, it was so bad you had to cover your face," said Haysha Toledo, 17, a neighbor who said she did not know Haynes well but often saw her walking in what she called "a nice quiet neighborhood."
A makeshift memorial of stuffed animals and flowers decorated a chainlink fence in front of the white multifamily home where Haynes
lived, and a handwritten nametag bears her name.
Haynes seemed depressed, Toledo said.
"You could see it in her face. No one could really tell what was wrong with her," she said.
Toledo said neighbors used to hear "a lot of fighting" from her apartment. "We used to hear her crying and screaming but no one ever really did anything," she said, adding that neighbors did not want to get involved.
The exact cause of Haynes' death has not yet been determined pending toxicology tests, but Detective Capt. Edward J. McGinn Jr.
said the autopsy indicated Haynes suffered head injuries.
Family members said she had three other children.
Haynes' youngest child, an 18-month-old girl, is in state custody, according to Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Alison Goodwin. Family members were looking after the girl yesterday.
Haynes' aunt, 58-year-old Sandra Grandmaison, told The Boston Herald that her niece's two other children, Jasmine, 4, and Lilliana, 3, live with Haynes' grandmother.
Grandmaison told the Herald that Haynes postponed two visits with her older children last week because she said she was having problems walking.
"She was a very sad, very young girl who never really grew up," Grandmaison told the Herald. "Darlene does not have the know-how or the ability to sense danger."
Police said Tuesday that they had interviewed the father of Haynes' daughter, Roberto Rodriguez.
Haynes had a restraining order against Rodriguez, who allegedly pushed her into a glass table in June and cut her arm, then grabbed
her by the throat and slapped her, the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester reported, citing court records.
Court records also showed Rodriguez was charged with hitting Haynes in 2008 in a case that was continued without a finding.
In June, Haynes described the 24-year-old Rodriguez as her boyfriend of several years. Her landlord said Rodriguez moved out of the apartment last month.
In an interview with WCVB, Rodriguez said Haynes was "a nice girl."
"She had her problems, you know, but nobody deserves to go (through) what she went through," he said.