Shawna Andritch is a California woman facing a murder charge in the death of a baby girl found dead in a cardboard box in Corona, The Los Angeles Times reported. Police say Andritch, 22, gave birth to the girl and left her in the box near a freeway in July.
Police arrested Andritch along with a 17-year-old male teen who was not identified because he is a minor. It is unclear if he has been charged in the death or if he is the child’s father.
The girl’s death has been a mystery. The child, identified only as Baby Jane Doe, was found wrapped in a floral-patterned t-shirt inside the box, which was found near the 15 Freeway.
Andritch is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Shawna Andritch is The Mother of Baby Jane Doe, Police Say
On July 27, police found the body of an infant wrapped in a striped and floral-pattern t-shirt near the 15 Freeway and Cajalco Road, The Press-Enterprise reported.
Police were unable to identify any potential family members through DNA. The baby was believed to be around a day old.
Officials could not determine how the child died during an autopsy, The Los Angeles Times reported.
Police now say Andritch gave birth to the child.
2. Baby Jane Doe Was Buried by Police & Firefighters on December 6
Firefighters, police officers, and community members held a funeral for the child on December 6 at Sunnyslope Cemetery in Corona, The Los Angeles Times reported.
A local shop donated flowers and one of the police detective’s families bought a dress for the child to be buried in.
Police and fire unions contributed funds to cover the cost of the funeral.
The Press-Enterprise reported that about 70 people attended the rainy ceremony, which lasted about 10 minutes.
“You’re not here because Baby Jane had the most beautiful voice because we were never given the opportunity to know what kind of a singing voice she had,” said Jon Castillo, the Corona police chaplain and a pastor at the First Baptist Church of Corona. “You’re not here because she was able to write the most beautiful poem because she was never given the opportunity to write that poem.”
“Every person who walks the planet is born in God’s image, and she had inherent value and worth,” he said.
3. Police Arrested Shawna Andritch After Receiving a Tip
After the child’s funeral, detectives received a tip that led them to identify Andritch as possibly being involved.
Police met with Andritch the following day and arrested her based on the statements she made in the interview, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Andritch faces a murder charge. She is expected to be arraigned on December 20.
She is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
4. Police Also Arrested a 17-Year-Old in the Case
Police said that Andritch and a 17-year-old male teen who was not identified because of his age were both interviewed and arrested.
It is unclear what Andritch’s relationship is to the teen or whether he was the child’s father. It is also unclear if he has been charged in the case.
“Both are in custody for murder,” a police release said. The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will decide what charges are filed.
5. California Allows Parents to Give Up Infants Within 72 Hours of Birth With No Questions Asked
Corona Police Sgt. Chad Fountain told The Los Angeles Times that the child was found less than a mile from a fire station and said that the state’s safe-surrender law allows parents to drop off an infant within 72 hours at a fire station or police station with no questions asked.
“That makes it worse in our eyes,” Fountain said. “It didn’t need to happen.”
The Safely Surrendered Baby Law responds to the increasing number of newborn infant deaths due to abandonment in unsafe locations. First created in January 2001, the Safely Surrendered Baby Law was signed permanently into state law in January 2006. The law’s intent is to save lives of newborn infants at risk of abandonment by encouraging parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender the infant within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked.