School closings & delays

17-year-old mother in custody in connection with dead newborn found in Muskegon

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MUSKEGON, Mich. — Following the gruesome discovery of a dead newborn baby Monday afternoon behind a senior living complex in Muskegon, a teen is now in custody.

A 17-year-old woman, believed to be the baby's mother, was taken into custody Monday night, according to sources.

The teen is a senior at Muskegon High School, John Felske the district superintendent confirmed Tuesday. Felske said the school would be bringing in counselors and briefing staff on the situation.

The infant's body was reported at around 2:50 p.m. in the area of 347 Shonat Street outside the Trinity Manor Senior Housing Complex.

"I think it’s really bad and I’m sorry it happened, I just can’t get over how they can do that sort of thing to a little baby," said Dee Salazar, who's lived at the complex for four years.

The baby “appeared to have been exposed to the elements for a period of time,” according to a release from police.

Muskegon Police later confirmed to FOX 17 they now believe that baby had been born in October and buried shortly after.

Initially following the finding, police said an arrest was 'imminent' and they had been interviewing a person of interest.

Muskegon County Jail records show Jessica Brewster, 17, was arrested Monday on a pending homicide charge. Her arraignment is also pending. She will likely be in court Wednesday as the courts are closed Tuesday in observation of Veteran's Day.

If charged, the suspect would be charged as an adult, according to the Muskegon County Prosecutor's Office.

The State of Michigan does have a "safe haven" law allowing individuals to leave a child up to three days old at an emergency service provider, like a hospital. police station or fire station, no questions asked.

Advocates with 'Baby Safe Haven,' a national group that tracks abandoned infant cases and works to educate young women, argue enough isn't being done to help young teens realize they have options in a situation like  this.

"Our mission is to spread the word about the law," said Regan Self, a 16-year-old advocate for the group based out of Kansas.

“Personally if I was in this position its really hard to think about how panicked I would be if there wasn’t an outlet or a way out so basically what I’m trying to show is there is a way out and you don’t have to panic.

"There’s no reason not to use and take advantage of this law.”

Baby Safe Haven reports there have been two such instances of infant abandonment resulting in death in West Michigan in just the past four months. Nationwide there have been two such cases, including this one, in just the past week.

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12 comments

  • SUE

    Do our schools make it know to the students that there is the “safe haven” law that they can give the baby with no questions asked? I think more should be done to inform our students at the education level so things like this don’t happen.

    • K. Plescher

      exactly! she obviously didn’t know what to do. who knows the situation that led up to this? none of us do. She needs help! yes, she needs to be held responsible for her actions, but she shouldn’t face murder one

    • Danielle

      I want to say, that she is 17 yrs old she should know better than burrying a newborn or even leaving them outside. I was a mother at 17 and i had enough common sense to know that there were options if i chose not to keep the baby that didnt consist of killing an innocent newborn. She deserves everything that is coming her way.

  • Medic

    Fox, please update you comment pertaining to “safe haven”. Under Michigan law you can to your newborn over to any michigan Paramedic in an ambulance, Police at a police station or in a police car, Firemen at a fire station or in a fire truck, or Emergency Room personnel in the Emergency Room up to 72 hours after the child is born.

    • Zegota

      The bleeding hearts of liberals have destroyed what values we have left as a country, making certain established laws and legislations today gray and white issues. Including the Holy Scriptures, society must have morals and values that support a safe society for all, what about the innocent little newborn baby, did she deserve this, did she have a choice, or a voice. She did, but it failed her tremendously, her Mother and Grandparents…

    • CommonSense

      Really, we should give her a break, why. The Baby was not given a break. Momma did not take a break to use birth control, mommy dearest does not think. This young lady has committed murder-and as of yet is innocent until tried under a court of law (for those of you who think she didn’t do wrong and play the sympathy card.) It is not up to the schools to educate those who fool around when they can’t take care of themselves, yet think they can. Babies having babies, probably with a grandma at home who is 32. Hmmmmm, can we spot the pattern here. Where’s the baby daddy?
      A bit of sarcasm expressed due to the ways of the world. Keep on being politically correct and see what you get. An ant, a flea, a kitty, a puppy, a turtle this was not. This was a child, a gift from God who had no choice what happened to it. Time for momma to pay the price. And, include in the sentence mandatory sterilization. Maybe the baby is better off, at least it doesn’t have to live a life dealing with the trash it was dealt for as it’s mother….

  • Zegota

    There is absolutely no excuses that can be made, or thought of that would say that this is acceptable. But it is a very strong message for us all that something is terribly wrong with our society when this behavior is found and I pray for the 17-year-old girl and her parents. Who now must accept a lot of the blame, because we must as individuals and as a society realize that individuals must be held accountable and responsible for their own actions, behavior and economic well being. This is only the tip of the challenges that we have today as a society, while the train wreck continues its course. May the innocent small baby find the peace and comfort that she so sadly deserves, and need.

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