A couple, Edwin Santiago, 31, and Jennifer Rheaume, 36, was arrested on Monday after police discovered the remains of a newborn baby behind a home in Worcester, Massachusetts. CBS Boston reports that officers with the Worcester Police Department were dispatched to a home on 374 Lake Avenue after the landlord complained of a foul order emitting from a garbage bag.
The bag was moved when officers arrived at the scene just shortly after 9 a.m., but it was located in a wooded area adjacent to the property. Authorities say the remains of a newborn baby was discovered inside of the garbage bag.
The baby’s gender, age, and cause of death has not been determined, but the newborn’s remains were sent to a local medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine how the baby died, if it was alive before being thrown into a garbage bag, or if the baby died at the time of delivery.
Authorities say that Rheaume and Santiago, who live in separate homes on the same street, was arrested in connection with the baby’s death after further investigation and questioning. It was reported that the couple was initially arrested for walking on a train tracks in a no trespassing area, near the crime scene where officers were investigating the baby’s death.
Worcester Police believe that Rheaume was pregnant, possibly with Santiago’s child, and gave birth before tossing the newborn baby in a garbage bag. A neighbor stated that he remembers seeing Rheaume pregnant and when he saw her again, she was no longer pregnant.
Rheaume and Santiago were charged with the “removal of a human body and concealment of the death of a child.” The couple made their first court appearance on Tuesday where Rheaume’s attorney argued that the remains of a newborn found in a garbage bag may actually be fetal remains.
The attorney went on to say that “more testing needs to be done,” and there is no evidence of his client partaking in the murder of the child or manslaughter.
Santiago is being held in the county jail on a $50,000 bond, while Rheaume’s bail was set at $1,000 cash. The Worcester couple is set to make another court appearance on July 24.
The Department of Children and Families were notified of the discovery of the newborn baby’s remains.
The investigation continues.
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