A teenage mother in Texas is facing murder charges after she allegedly placed her newborn daughter in a flowerpot and left the child to die.
On Thursday, Jazmin Lopez, 19, of Dallas, was indicted on charges of capital murder and tampering with evidence in the 2019 death of her baby girl, NBC-DFW News 5 reports.
According to court documents, Lopez went to police in March 2019 after seeing a news report about her baby’s body being found at Perry Cemetery in Carrollton, Texas. Police said she admitted that she had given birth to a daughter on Feb. 4 and then left her in a flowerpot.
Dallas News reports police said Lopez changed her story about the events that took place immediately following her daughter’s birth.
According to police, the teen initially told them that she gave birth at home, and her daughter stopped breathing soon after she was born. Later, however, police said they found evidence on Lopez’s phone that she had wanted an abortion and, when confronted about it, she told them a different version of the events.
Here’s more from the report:
In a later interview, Lopez told police she gave birth in her bathroom and kept the baby quiet while she cleaned up, according to an affidavit. She said she put the baby in a closet while she ate breakfast, and later in a backpack when a friend arrived to pick her up, an affidavit states.
According to an affidavit, when she realized the baby had died, she and her friend drove to Home Depot to get a flowerpot and flowers. The next day, they placed the flowerpot between two headstones at Perry Cemetery with the baby buried inside, according to an affidavit.
Authorities said Lopez’s family did not know she was pregnant.
Whether or not her family would have been supportive, her baby’s death easily could have been prevented.
All 50 states have safe haven laws to protect babies from abandonment and infanticide. Safe haven laws allow mothers in crisis to leave their newborns in a safe environment, such as a hospital or fire station, without questions or repercussions, as long as there are no signs of abuse.
In Texas, the Baby Moses Law allows parents to surrender a newborn up to 60 days old at a fire station, hospital or emergency medical services station. The child will receive medical care and be placed in the custody of the state.
More than 130 babies have been surrendered to safe havens in Texas alone, according to KXAN. Thousands more likely have been saved from abandonment and death all across the country, thanks to safe haven laws.