A 14-year-old girl allegedly strangled her newborn baby while his umbilical cord was still connected, then hid him in a shoebox until the stench of his decaying body led to the boy’s discovery, police say.
Cassidy Goodson of Lakeland, Florida, faces charges of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. Authorities are deciding whether to charge her as an adult.
According to The Ledger, Goodson killed the newborn after secretly giving birth at home in the bathroom. Goodson was believed to have been treated for a miscarriage on September 19 — the same exact date she gave birth — and her parents weren’t aware of anything.
The high school freshman wore baggy clothes to hide her pregnancy. Her two aunts say that they suspected their niece was pregnant and that Cassidy’s mother, Teresa Goodson, allowed the girl to take a pregnancy test in private. Teresa Goodson’s sisters repeatedly warned the mother that Cassidy was pregnant.
Three days after the incident occurred, Polk County authorities received a call from Teresa Goodson stating that she smelled an odor. The dead baby was found in a shoebox in Cassidy’s bedroom. Goodson’s excuse for killing her baby was that she didn’t know what to do with it, while her defense team argues that she is just a child and has no parental support. Investigators say she showed no emotion during the questioning.
When asked why she didn’t come forth, Cassidy told police she didn’t want to change the relationship between her and her parents.
In a statement released by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, authorities say the high school student used scissors to pry the 9.5-pound baby out and gave birth into the toilet. Goodson allegedly lifted her baby out of the toilet, placed her hands on the infant’s neck and squeezed until the baby stopped breathing.
Does she deserve to be charged or should the adults who missed the signs of her pregnancy be held accountable?
Sheriff Grady Judd believes the girl’s age should be taken into account. Judd says, “Let’s remember she is a child, where was her support system?”
Investigators are also looking into the father’s identity.