Abandoned baby case mom faces trial
Eastpointe — When the frozen body of baby boy came down the recycling facility conveyor belt, Cyndee Johnson said the sight made her jump.
Johnson, who had recently been hired as a sorter at the ReCommunity Recycling Center in Roseville, said she knew the figure was not a doll, but a baby among the plastics, metals and other materials.
Johnson immediately called for the conveyor to be stopped, she testified during the preliminary hearing for Angela Alexie, who police said gave birth to the boy in a cold garage in Eastpointe. His body later ended up at the curb with household recyclables. Alexie showed no emotion during Friday's testimony.
"Stop the line! Stop the line! That's a real baby! " Johnson said she yelled.
Breaking down while recounting the events of that day, Johnson, 57, said she covered the baby with a blanket that was nearby.
"It was curled up like he was trying to keep warm," she tearfully told Bill Cataldo, Macomb County assistant prosecutor. "It was cold. Blue and purple. Snow in its hair."
At the end of Alexie's preliminary exam before Judge Carl Gerds III at 38th District Court the mother of three other children was bound over for trial on first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse charges.
Bail for Alexie, 24, is set at $1 million. She's being held in the Macomb County Jail.
During Friday's preliminary examination, Alexie sat the lawyer's table with her head down, never making eye contact with the four witnesses called to the stand by the prosecution. During a break in testimony, Alexie began to cry.
According to police, the infant was full-term, showed no obvious signs of trauma and still had his umbilical cord attached. They say he was born Dec. 22 and died Dec. 24.
The baby's body was found at the recycling center Jan. 14.
Dr. Daniel Spitz, Macomb County's medical examiner, was first called to the witness stand. While autopsy results are not final, Spitz said hypothermia played a part in the death of the child. He said he classified the death as a homicide.
Before conducting the autopsy Jan. 17, Spitz said he had to wait for the body to thaw because it was frozen.
Spitz said it was his understanding the child was left in a garage while temperatures hovered between the high teens and low 40s for more than two days.
According to testimony from Detective Brad McKenzie of the Roseville Police Department, he picked up Alexie for questioning from the home on Gascony, where she had delivered the child.
He said she admitted to hiding the pregnancy from family, friends and her boyfriend out of fear of Children's Protective Services, which Alexie had had dealings with in the past. She was also fearful and embarrassed of revealing that she didn't know who the father of the child she was carrying was.
According to police Alexie was staying at the home of two brothers on Gascony. Around 6:30 a.m. Dec. 22, Alexie left the house and went to the garage where about 10 minutes later she gave birth.
McKenzie said Alexie told him that she severed the umbilical cord with her teeth.
The detective added that Alexie admitted to leaving the child in the garage, checking on him periodically and trying to breastfeed him with no success. She told McKenzie that after she gave birth and regained her strength, she planned to take the child to the fire department.
After the child died, Alexie left the child's body in the garage for a week before placing him in a plastic bag, which she placed near the garbage and recycling bins, McKenzie said. She told police she had planned to bury the child but someone in the house on Gascony had placed the plastic bag in the recycling bin.
Cataldo told the court a DNA report by the Michigan State Police confirms Alexie is the baby's mother.
Witness Amy Lesniak, 29, the sister of Alexie's boyfriend, was the one who called Roseville police after hearing the news about the baby's body being found at the recycling center.
Alexie has two children with Lesniak's brother and Amy Lesniak says she has had custody of those children since 2013. A third child Alexie had is in foster care.
Lesniak said she suspected Alexie was again pregnant.
Alexie's lawyer Steven Kaplan tried to get the charges reduced to involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse but Gerds stuck with the original charges.
Alexie's next court date is March 2.
Now unofficially named Henry Alexander Macomb after Gen. Alexander Macomb, the newborn will be buried in a donated plat at Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton Township.