WEAR - Search Results

The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Mother charged in death of newborn

OKALOOSA COUNTY  --  A mother who says she was hiding her pregnancy now faces a murder charge in the death of her newborn baby.

Tonisha Crowell is charged with aggravated child abuse and non-premeditated murder.

Her baby girl was found in a garbage bag outside Crowell's home in Fort Walton Beach Wednesday evening.
Crowell's arrest report answers some questions
But not all of them.
Laura Hussey "Wednesday afternoon the temperature was under fifty degrees. Neighbors tell us this ditch had water in it. The infant girl wrapped in a garbage bag was still trying to breathe"     
Deputies were called to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center after Tonisha Crowell came in with heavy bleeding, but repeatedly denied having a baby.
The truth came out during a phone call with her boyfriend.
She admitted delivering a baby girl in their bathroom, then wrapping her in a white trash bag and placing the bag outside the house.

Lindsey Banning/Neighbor "What can make you do that? I became a mom at fifteen, and I never once thought about anything, getting rid of my children or not keeping them."   
Crowell told deputies she thought the infant was stillborn.
But the baby's chest moved when paramedics found her.   

Neighbor Lindsey Banning can't believe it happened so close to home.
Lindsey "I couldn't imagine, I couldn't. I'm going to school right now for nursing, so I'd have been there doing CPR if I had any idea"
The little girl managed four breaths a minute while doctors fought to save her, but she didn't survive.

The arrest report says Crowell hid her pregnancy from her live-in boyfriend by saying she had an enlarged colon.
It doesn't explain why.
Ann Imburgio/Catholic Charities "My thought is...is there a possibility that she did not know the resources that are available in this community?"
Ann Imburgio of Catholic Charities says their agency and others will help with adoption, or services to help a mother through pregnancy.
She says Florida's Safe Haven Law lets a parent leave a newborn at a hospital, no questions asked.

Laura Hussey "When Crowell was asked why she didn't call 911 or even check for a pulse, she told officers that she thought people would think she had done something wrong in causing the birth."