Mother held in killing

Newborn found dead in trash

December 18, 2008|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,justin.fenton@baltsun.com

The mother of a newborn child who was found dead in a trash bin behind a Charles Village church has been charged with first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death, according to court records.

Melanie Beth Blevins, 22, of Westminster had been staying at St. John's Methodist Church in the 2600 block of St. Paul St. as part of a training program with a Christian volunteer organization when she went to the hospital Oct. 4 complaining of abdominal pains. Doctors discovered during an examination that she had recently had a baby.

She told doctors she had given birth to a stillborn boy. Officers eventually found the child in a white plastic bag that had been placed a steel trash bin. The child's umbilical cord was still attached.

Police said Blevins told detectives that she had concealed her pregnancy from her family and friends and had never received any prenatal care. Between 2 a.m and 3 a.m. on Oct 4, she said, she gave birth to the child in a church bathroom and believed he was dead because he was not crying.

The state medical examiner reported that the boy had been born alive but died of asphyxia caused by submersion in water and being confined to the bag. The weather was also a factor.

Blevins, of the 100 block of Marion Road, has no criminal record. She was taken into custody Tuesday and was being held on $100,000 bond.

She had been living in the basement of the church while training as part of a group of 20 volunteers with the Church of the Brethren, a Christian service organization based in New Windsor and Elgin, Ill.

Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, a spokeswoman for the group, said the group's leaders had not known that Blevins was pregnant. The volunteers were involved in a five-week training program and were spending four days in Baltimore to gain exposure to urban issues, she said.

The church's pastor said Blevins had given various reasons for her large abdomen.

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