Teenage girl 'caught with dead baby's body in shopping bag' while shoplifting

By Kirstin Buick
31 July 2015

When a Victoria's Secret security guard searched Tiona Rodriguez's bag, what he found was far worse that a stolen pair of panties.

When a Victoria's Secret security guard searched Tiona Rodriguez's bag, what he found was far worse that a stolen pair of panties.

The  then 16-year-oldNew York teen was stopped  with a friend at the Victoria’s Secret store in Manhattan’s Herald Square in 2013, the New York Times reports, when a smelt a faint rotten odour. Inside her bag, he found a a dead 3,6kg baby boy in her tote bag, along with a stolen pair of skinny jeans.

The Brooklyn teenager had kept the pregnancy a secret, giving birth in October 2013 in the bathroom of a friend’s flat in Queens.

Two years later, Tiona (now 18) has been charged with murder, after turning herself in on 30 July.

An autopsy revealed that the boy lived for several minutes before he died of asphyxiation.

“She planned and carried out the murder of her newborn infant and then callously shoved him in a bag,” Rachel Ferrari, an assistant district attorney, said during the bail hearing.

Tiona had  reportedly sent a message to a friend saying she intended to “dig a hole, put it somewhere, lol, then we go eat IHOP.”

The teenager, who has pleaded not guilty, says the baby was stillborn. Her lawyer Earl S. Ward said Tiona was “a young and confused lady” who panicked when her baby was stillborn.

“It’s a sad and tragic case,” he said. “But it’s not a murder case.”

According to the Times, this is not the first time Tiona has had a baby. She gave birth to her now four-year-old son when she was 14.

In 2012, she fell pregnant again, and allegedly gave birth in the bath in her family's home. It's not clear what became of the baby.

"She may have killed the baby,” Ferrari said. “The baby may have been stillborn, but we know that she texted her boyfriend throughout the birth, ultimately telling him, ‘It’s dead.’ ”

Sources: nytimes.com, mirror.co.uk, nydailynews.com

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