NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Two teenage girls suspected of shoplifting were stopped as they were leaving the Victoria’s Secret store in Herald Square, and a security guard checking their bags found what appeared to be a dead baby inside, police said Thursday.
The girls, both 17, were stopped by store security guards, one of whom smelled a foul odor coming from a bag, police said. It was then that one of the girls admitted she had “a baby in the bag,” CBS 2 reported.
A guard called police. The girl later told officers that she had given birth Wednesday and did not know what to do with the fetus, which had matured only five to six months, police said.
The teens have been identified as Tiana Rodriguez, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and Francis Estevez, of Glendale, Queens. Rodriguez, who police say gave birth to the baby, was taken to Bellevue Hospital. Estevez was still being held at the Midtown South police station Thursday night, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
They have both been charged with petty larceny. More charges could follow.
The Medical Examiner’s Office was performing an autopsy on the baby, which was believed to be a boy, to determine whether the child was born dead or alive and the cause of death. The results of the autopsy are expected to be released Friday.
Police searched Rodriguez’s apartment Thursday night. They also were examining surveillance video from inside the store.
Neighbors and friends said they had no idea Rodriguez, who has a 2-year-old son, was pregnant. In recent photos posted online, Rodriguez’s pregnancy was not obvious. Late Wednesday night, she posted on her Facebook page complaining of cramps.
“I couldn’t really tell because she’s a little heavyset, so I wouldn’t know if she was pregnant, pregnant or that’s just her,” neighbor Ramon Acosta told Sanchez.
“I was in shock,” Acosta said of Thursday’s events. “I caught goosebumps and all that. It’s like, come on, that’s a young, innocent girl to my eyes.
Residents who live near the Victoria’s Secret told Sanchez they were also stunned by the news.
“It’s sad and it hurts because it’s still a life that was born, and now it’s gone,” said Esther Gross, of the Upper West Side.
Passersby on the busy corner asked others what the commotion was about, and some were shaken by the answer they received.
“Very devastating,” one woman told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman. “I’m a mother of a 5-year-old. I wanted to cry. It’s very sad.”
“There’s no reason, there’s no logical explanation to carry around a fetus,” another woman said.
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