Woman accused of hiding birth arraigned in baby's death

Oralandar Brand-Williams and Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News

Redford Township — A 24-year-old Wyandotte woman accused of placing the body of her newborn son in a plastic bag in her office desk will remain behind bars after a judge denied her attorney's request that she be released to her parents.

Judge Karen Khalil made the decision at Friday's video arraignment of Kimberly Pappas in 17th District Court.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy charged Pappas with felony murder, premeditated murder and first-degree child abuse in the March 31 death of her infant son.

Pappas sat impassively Friday as her rights were read to her by the judge, nodding yes when asked if she understood while her parents sat in the courtroom. A not-guilty plea was entered on her behalf.

According to Worthy's office, Pappas gave birth to the newborn in her workplace's bathroom at CEVA Logistics, located in the the 24400 block of Glendale in Redford Township, where she was hired as a temporary employee.

Police and rescue units were called around 11:20 a.m. that day, according to police.

"After the birth, it is further alleged that she sealed the infant in a plastic bag and then placed it in a tote bag near her desk," according to the prosecutor's office. "An employee alerted the Redford Fire Department, who came to the scene and attempted resuscitation efforts on the child. The child was immediately taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead at 11:55 a.m."

The full-term newborn died of asphyxiation, the Wayne County medical examiner said Thursday. Ryan Bridges, spokesman for the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office, said the boy's death was ruled a homicide, living 20 to 30 minutes before his death.

"She said no one helped her with the delivery; she did it on her own," said Detective Sgt. Kevin Crittenden on Friday. "An employee was in the room with her for a short time and said she didn't notice anything unusual."

Crittenden said that Pappas was aware she was pregnant by Christmas and felt the child moving up until she delivered the baby into the toilet water in the bathroom.

According to police, the body of the infant, along with the placenta, was eventually found in a plastic bag in a drawer in Pappas' desk. Pappas reportedly told first responders that she had miscarried.

Pappas, accompanied by attorneys Raymond Cassar and Patrick Ogurek, voluntarily surrendered herself Friday morning at the Redford Township Police Department at Five Mile and Beech Daly.

In court Friday, Ogurek asked that Pappas be released from jail and turned over to her parents.

"She is still presumed innocent," Ogurek said. "She has never been in trouble before, turned herself in, doesn't have a driver's license and lives with her parents, who are in the front row. There is no reason to be concerned that she won't show up."

Ogurek said the court could impose a curfew on Pappas or requite her to wear a GPS tether.

"We want her to continue to get mental health treatment, which she's not going to get in the county jail," Ogurek said. "Let her stay with family and get the treatment she needs."

Khalil denied the request and remanded Pappas back to jail.

"I believe there are serious mental health issues with our client," Cassar said to reporters outside the courtroom. "I don't know what her intent was ... I think she was very concerned about what she was going to do with her life."

Pappas' parents refused to comment on the situation but are "having a rough time," according to Cassar.

"The best place for her is at her home where is surrounded by the people who love her," Cassar said.

Crittenden called the situation "a tragedy all the way around" and urged women in this situation regarding unwanted children to remember the "Safe Haven" law.

"This has been a tragedy for everybody involved; the baby, baby's family and the rescue people," Crittenden said.


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