Police currently believe that Ashley Hautzenrader, a 22-year-old woman from Davenport, Iowa, attempted to flush her newborn baby down a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) toilet.
Hautzenrader told the police that she did not know that she was pregnant upon entering the bathroom and believed that the baby was a stillborn because the child was not crying when they were born.
According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, when Hautzenrader could not flush the child, she reportedly placed the baby in a pillowcase, left them in a trash can and then cleaned up the bathroom. Tom Moore, a UIHC spokesman, told the Press-Citizen that the baby was found alive by a hospital employee “shortly after delivery.” Moore additionally explained that Iowa has a Safe Haven Law that allows parents to leave a newborn up to 14 days old at any location in a hospital without being prosecuted.
Police arrested Hautzenrader soon after the child was found. She now faces one count of child endangerment, which is punishable by up to two years in prison.
Back in May of 2015, Hautzenrader petitioned for a paternity test and for child support for another child, according to WQAD. However, due to federal health-care privacy laws, the hospital could not state whether Hautzenrader was a patient at the time of delivery or comment on the child’s current condition.