A 21-year-old woman was charged Monday with attempted first-degree murder after Baltimore County police reported that she threw her newborn baby out of a second-story window.
Rebecca Diane Himes, who later told a doctor that she had not known she was pregnant before she delivered the child, was also charged with child abuse and reckless endangerment in connection with the July 22 incident at her home on Virginia Avenue in Reisterstown. The full-term baby girl, who appeared to have been born only seconds before she was discovered crying in a bush outside the house, was unhurt.
"After reviewing the details of the case, the decision to charge was a no-brainer," Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger said by phone Monday afternoon. He said his office had instructed police to charge Himes and that a District Court commissioner had issued a warrant for her arrest.
Shellenberger said officers were "aware of her whereabouts" and that they were on their way to pick her up. There was no pre-set bail specified in the warrant, he said, making it more likely that Himes would spend at least a night in custody.
The case drew widespread attention when it became public last week. The baby, who weighed about 8.5 pounds at birth, was discovered by her mother's younger sister, Samantha Nicole Himes, 18. She told police officers that she had heard "screams or cries" coming from a plastic bag about 10 feet under a bathroom window. The discovery sent her "screaming" toward the front of the house, a police report said.
Paramedics were summoned and clamped the child's umbilical cord, which showed evidence of having been ripped apart, a doctor said later. "This baby was at risk for profuse bleeding," said the doctor, Olachi Mezu-Ndubuisi, a pediatrician in the neonatal intensive care unit of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where the child was admitted and examined.
"I think I was shocked, to say the least," Mezu-Ndubuisi recalled, referring to the paramedics' story about the circumstances surrounding the baby. "I stopped in my tracks for a second."
The doctor was happy to report, however, that the child was "vigorous, active and pink" and showed no ill-effects from her brief flight into the bushes. Mezu-Ndubuisi said also that the baby's mother, who accompanied the child to the hospital in an ambulance, was "distraught" and showed "deep concern" for the baby's welfare.
The child, whom nurses variously called Miracle, Angel and Hope, was discharged from the hospital six days after her admission and placed in the care of the Department of Social Services. Hospital officials said several people had called and offered to adopt her.
The Himes sisters and their mother, Laura Smith Himes, 51, live in a single-family home in the first block of Virginia Ave., a couple hundred feet off Reisterstown Road.
"We have nothing to say," a man a few doors down replied last week when a reporter rang his doorbell to ask about the Himes family. "Those are nice people."
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