Late last year, 17-year-old Tiona Rodriguez was stopped by a security officer who witnessed the teenager shoplifting in the Herald’s Square Victoria’s Secret store in New York. Nothing could have prepared authorities for the shock of what they found inside Rodriguez’s Victoria’s Secret shopping bag.
According to NBC News, when the security officer approached Tiona and her friend, who he believed he had seen shoplifting a $44.50 pair of skinny jeans, he noticed a strong odor coming from the Victoria’s Secret bag Tiona was carrying. When the security officer inspected the bag, he discovered the corpse of a one-day-old infant. At the time there were no reported signs of trauma, and the cause of death wasn’t clear.
Rodriguez was released without bail at the time after pleading not-guilty to petty larceny and possession of stolen property tied to the Victoria’s Secret shoplifting incident according to Daily Mail, but prosecutors couldn’t bring charges against her for the corpse of the young child she had been carrying until medical examiners could determine the cause of the infant’s death.
‘The NYPD, my office and the office of the Chief Medical Examiner are going to continue to vigorously and thoroughly investigate the matter relating to the baby,” Assistant District Attorney Robert Hettleman said at the time, referring to the corpse found in the Victoria’s Secret bag.
At the time, Rodriguez told investigators that she had given birth prematurely at a friend’s house, and was carrying the remains in the Victoria’s Secret bag because she wasn’t sure what to do.
On Tuesday, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the baby’s death as a homicide, and stated that the death was caused by homicidal asphyxia. The preliminary reports indicate that the infant was likely born alive before dying of asphyxiation.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has yet to comment on whether or not they will pursue murder charges against the young mother, who also has a 2-year-old son at home. Rodriguez told several news agencies that she had not heard anything about the ruling of the young baby’s death or if charges were going to be brought against her for the death.
“I have no idea what happened. I’m not allowed to speak,” she told New YorkDaily News.
“She must be going through a big depression. She must have been wondering how she was going to get rid of it,” Yvonne Sonera, a shopper at the Victoria’s Secret store told the Daily News at the time.
[Image via Daily News]