A Massachusetts woman is facing charges after she allegedly disposed of a newborn baby earlier this year.
James Leydon, spokesperson for the Hampden County District Attorney’s office, said that 38-year-old Shanna Sharples was arrested Tuesday on charges including child endangerment, improper disposal of a body, and three counts of obstruction of justice.
Investigators allege that Sharples checked herself into Baystate Noble Hospital to report a miscarriage that had occurred on May 4.
According to court documents, Sharples said she was in a shower when she believed she had a blood clot That’s when she went to the hospital.
“The suspect reportedly arrived at the hospital in possession of biological tissue, which was consistent with what a woman who gave birth would have produced,” Leydon added.
Court documents obtained by Western Mass News indicate that “The hospital reported that Sharples brought a bag with a placenta and umbilical cord into the ER. No fetus was present.”
In fear for an infant’s life, investigators quickly searched for the baby hoping that it wasn’t too late.
Investigators said that the 38-year-old mother insisted that she had not delivered a baby.
Local and state police then conducted searches of both an apartment complex on Southampton Road in Westfield, as well as a transfer station on Twiss Street, but the infant was not found.
“Over the course of the investigation, detectives from the Westfield Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit spent several days searching through approximately 50 tons of garbage, fearing the infant was disposed in the trash, which had been picked up and transferred to the town dump the morning this incident was reported,” Leydon noted.
Detectives pushed for more information.
Court documents obtained by Western Mass News indicate that “she again stated that she did not give birth to a fetus and that she brought everything with her to the hospital.”
In fact, Sharples said that she had no idea she was even pregnant, but a neighbor said that Sharples said she was expecting a short time before.
Meanwhile, co-workers noticed signs that she was entering into the late stages of a pregnancy.
Investigators applied for and were granted an arrest warrant for Sharples on Tuesday. She was taken into custody the same day without incident.
The placenta was taken to experts for a forensic investigation. The gender and details about what might have happened to the baby after birth are still unclear.
However, pathologists said in court documents that “the baby that Sharples was caring was full term and alive at least 12 to 24 hours before birth.”
A not guilty plea was entered during Sharple’s arraignment Wednesday in Westfield District Court. Bail was set at $10,000 and she is due back in court on November 3.