Confronting child abuse in Tarrant County
A teen smothered her newborn baby in February with a shirt as the infant was about to cry for the first time and later buried the child in a flowerpot, according to police and court documents.
At first, the flowerpot was left in a car overnight before the 18-year-old from Dallas and a friend took the flowerpot to a Carrollton cemetery and left it there, according to arrest warrant obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Wednesday.
Last month, an employee at the cemetery found the baby buried in the flowerpot.
Authorities arrested Jazmin Lopez of Dallas on Tuesday without incident.
Lopez was in the Denton County Jail on Wednesday in lieu of $500,000 bail. The teen is expected to be charged with capital murder, Carrollton police said.
Her juvenile friend had not been arrested as of Wednesday, but the investigation continued, said Carrollton police spokeswoman Jolene DeVito in a Wednesday telephone interview.
The warrant gave this account of the incident:
Lopez stated nobody in her family knew she was pregnant and she had not received or sought medical prenatal care. She gave her baby the name Kailen Lopez.
Initially, Lopez told police she gave birth at her family’s Dallas apartment on Feb. 4, but the baby did not move. The teen said she passed out and when she “came to” she was holding the infant, but the baby was not breathing.
Lopez took photographs of her baby, and detectives later found messages on her cell phone in which she and a friend talked about seeking information on a pill to abort the pregnancy and abortion clinics. She sought the information on the clinics when she was about four to five months pregnant.
But in a followup interview with a Carrollton detective, Lopez changed her story, saying she started to give birth in a closet on the morning of Feb. 4 as her grandmother made breakfast in the kitchen. When her uncle left a restroom, Lopez walked out of the closet to the restroom and delivered her baby as she stood.
Her infant was moving and gasping for air when the teen realized the baby was about to cry.
Lopez took her shirt off and covered her infant’s mouth, according to the warrant, holding the baby against her body for one to two minutes.
Lopez told the detective “she was just trying to keep the baby quiet until she could get her out of the apartment,” according to the warrant.
She held the baby against her body as she cleaned blood from the floor and bathtub.
At some point, Lopez grabbed a trash bag and placed the placenta and soiled items in it.
Lopez took the baby to her bedroom and placed her in a basket.
Her grandmother walked into her bedroom and asked her why she looked pale, but Lopez did not tell her anything.
Lopez called a friend to pick her up so she could get the baby out of the apartment. Before she left, she cleaned the blood on the floor in the closet.
Lopez told the detective she knew her baby was dead as she stepped into her friend’s vehicle.
The friend drove Lopez to a park where they talked about what to do with her baby. They agreed to go to a local Home Depot, buy a flowerpot and natural flowers.
Her child was placed in the flowerpot and buried. The friend took the flowerpot and left it in the car.
On the morning of Feb. 5, Lopez and the friend agreed to meet at Perry Cemetery in Carrollton and leave the flowerpot there.
An employee at Perry Cemetery, 1805 N. Perry Road, in Carrollton, found the baby girl on March 11 after emptying a flowerpot that was out of place.
The employee told detectives he had seen the pot full of dirt between two headstones, but he did not know who had left the pot.
The pot was surrounded by white stones, taken from a nearby driveway.
There was a cross made out of the same stones near the pot.
On the morning of March 11, the employee decided to clean up the pot, attempting to dump out wet dirt, but the body of a small child fell out.
Officials at the medical examiner’s officer determined the infant weighed 6 pounds with the umbilical cord still attached.
Later in March, Lopez came forward and identified herself as the mother of the baby, Carrollton police said. The teen was not arrested at that time.
She contacted Carrollton police after seeing news coverage of the incident. Carrollton is about 35 miles northeast of Fort Worth.