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pregnant-fireKENT, WA — Police say a suicidal pregnant woman set herself on fire Sunday evening, then gave birth to a baby boy who died “almost immediately” at the hospital

According to reports, police responded to a call about a suicidal woman who had “caught herself on fire.”

When they got to the scene they found the 34-year-old woman very late into her pregnancy suffering from significant burns.

The woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition and gave birth to a baby boy. A little over two hours later, the baby died.

According to a King County Medical Examiner’s Office report, the boy died from prenatal asphyxia due to maternal thermal burns.

Despite hiss manner of death was listed as homicide, Kent police have not yet charged the woman with a crime.

“It is early on the investigation, and it is not quite clear if any charges will be brought against the woman,” said police spokeswoman Melanie Robinson.

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  • That’s sad as fuck. But she shouldn’t be charged. She’s suicide, clearly suffering from a mental illness.

  • Omg that’s horrific. She probably had a pregnancy induced psychosis.

  • How did her burns suffocate the baby?

  • starry1

    Severe burns affect the oxygen level in the body (yes, skin does need to “breathe”). If her body was low on oxygen, then the baby wasn’t getting enough and the baby died of asphyxia like the article says.

  • It is worth going to hell for this laugh…

  • Karen Eileen

    Why didn’t they do an emergancy C-section? Two hours could have saved that baby.

  • melb1970

    Wow, surely somebody could have seen. this woman’s despair. To be so desperate as to set yourself on fire….as a means to THE end. My heart hurts for her.. and the child she sacrificed.. just wow

  • Kim Graves

    Maybe she was alone and pregnant or homeless its sad

  • I don’t know about anyone else but as far as myself, you the only one getting a laugh out of it.

  • Dzan

    Shoot, I thought it was funny.

  • Dzan

    Ok, not really.

  • And not just any kind of suicidal. Suicide by fire is hardcore.

  • LucyJane

    They did. He died two hours after that. He was deprived of oxygen in the womb because her burns were that severe. She will most likely die, too, which would be the most merciful thing that could happen to her. I can’t hate on this poor woman – this isn’t the work of a functioning brain. I’m sad for whatever family there is, and for the hospital staff who had to deal with this.

  • GGMon

    Damn, that’s horrifying. Woman is clearly off her rocker and it’s sad she didn’t get the help she needed. Makes me scared to have children especially with the chances of having postpartum depression

  • Texas Ranger

    No shit, The self loathing must have been incredible. Inflict maximum pain prior to death, not the usual “look at me” suicide attempt. Wow, I’m not a hugger by nature, but I bet a good old loving hug might have made a difference? maybe for a second?

  • TexasStacy

    Set her on fire again…what a good mommy

  • Tender Branson

    That is one hell of a way to spend a Sunday evening.

  • Ann Stone

    Reason #73 why abortion should be safe, legal & subsidized.

  • Sejanus

    Step one…
    sterilize her so this can never happen to her offspring again.

    Step two…
    she likely dies from injuries in which case step one is moot.

  • Joanntfoster4

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    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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  • measyou

    As long as you can recognize when you’re ill (even if it takes awhile for you to see it), get help, and work your ass off to get healthy again, you’ll be ok. Depression that honestly has no way to get any better at all is extremely rare.

  • jansav

    they should just let her die. It is obviously what she wanted.

  • Sara

    While I agree with you, I wonder if accessibility would have helped this particular woman. I know it sounds odd of me to say, because logic would dictate that a pregnant woman who self immolates obviously doesn’t want the child. But as someone who suffers from severe depression and has been suicidal, I can honestly say that during such an episode, logical reasoning is the first thing to go. I’m guessing that this poor woman was so distressed that she probably wasn’t even thinking of the child. Her primary victim was herself. And to choose self-immolation as her method, she had to have been way beyond out of her mind. It takes a special level of psychotic to set fire to oneself.

  • Ann Stone

    Couldn’t agree more, Sara, but I can’t help but think being pregnant didn’t help. Self immolation is some pretty strong stuff. I prefer to die as painlessly as possible.

  • Sara

    You’ve got a point there. Pregnancy messes with everything. In my experience, it made my neurological condition much worse. I developed seizures after my son was born, among other serious problems. (Not that I regret having him. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me, in spite of everything I went through/still go through.) I imagine that if this lady had problems to begin with, pregnancy wasn’t ideal. I hear you about the self-immolation. If I ever commit suicide, it’s going to be as fast and painless as I can manage. Burning to death is way, way at the other end of that spectrum. Slow and agonizing.

  • Josephineeblack2

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj39d:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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  • esmerald 2006

    Yep those were my thoughts also, why go through the trouble of saving her if she wants to die, plus the pain of not being successful at killing herself which makes me think she was her main target, there’s a whole lot of other means to kill a child when it’s still in your womb.

  • jansav

    I would think she wanted to end it all. self and child.

  • nobigwhoopdawg

    Not to mention that you usually don’t have any idea what the hormones will do until you’re already under the effect of them and too insane to stop whatever it is you’re doing.

    I am so over this “Charge her with murder” shit already. We need to get better at making sure vulnerable populations can get proper mental health screenings and somehow balance that with resisting the urge to treat these same groups as criminals who need to be locked up for their own good. We’re not doing so well with either.

  • D. Tate

    Most people who are suicidal are not thinking straight. If their lives are saved, most later go on to say they were glad they survived. So maybe she wanted it right in that moment, but it wasn’t a rational desire.

    Sometimes you see murder/suicide-gesture type of things, where the person will thoroughly kill their victim and then take a few pills or superficially cut their wrist. When that happens, you can be pretty sure that the person involved wanted to kill, and that was the main goal. But this wasn’t anything like that. She set herself on fire–if anybody was going to die, she was. She probably wasn’t even thinking about the baby, kind of the way somebody who commits suicide by train isn’t thinking about the fact that they’re probably going to traumatize the people in the train. All they think about is how much pain they’re in and how much they want to get out of it.

    Usually, a murder-suicide would have me refusing to pity the perpetrator, going, “No, that was a homicidal person who wanted to get out of having to pay for it,” or, “No, that suicidal person felt like they owned the other person and had the right to take them with them.” But this… this sounds like a straight-up suicide attempt.

  • jansav

    I still think they should just let her die. Even if it was just a mental breakdown do you think she wants to live with the guilt of what happened?

  • D. Tate

    I think it’s not the doctor’s job to decide that for her.

  • jansav

    I think it isn’t his place to force her to live. She made her choice.

  • Aussie Sabbath

    I didn’t know that severe burns on a pregnant woman could kill the foetus. You learn something new everyday.

  • D. Tate

    Once again–it was a choice she made while she wasn’t competent to make decisions for herself. I’ve been there, I’ve been suicidal, I’ve had to be hospitalized–when you are suicidal, you are not thinking straight enough to make a competent decision about whether you want to die. It’s ironic, but it’s true. I don’t know how she will live with herself, I don’t know if she can live with herself, but I do know it’s not the doctor’s job to finish her suicide attempt for her. First, do no harm.

  • D. Tate

    Wouldn’t have helped. Abortion is legal and reasonably safe, but this woman didn’t want an abortion, she wanted to commit suicide. IMO, the only thing that might have saved this woman and her baby is widely-available, low-stigma mental health care available for anyone at any time at no cost. We’re starting to address medical health care availability, but mental health care still lags behind. It’s no good–people die by suicide, from anorexia, from drug overdoses trying to self-medicate; they lose years to disability because of mental illness that’s not properly treated. We need to put mental health care on the same level as medical health care, or we are going to keep losing people and keep losing otherwise useful years of our lives to mental illness.

  • jansav

    I’m going to stick with my opinion.

  • Andrea G

    just cause it rains here, it’s not that glummy here…..

  • Ann Stone

    I am humbled by your words. I do believe your comment to be one of the wisest, I’ve ever read. There is a tremendous difference between batshit crazy and genuine malice (which, are most of the problem & that is why it is so easy for the majority of humans to lump the truly insane (Andrea Yates) with the truly evil (Casey Anthony).

  • nobigwhoopdawg

    Ann <3

    I've had depression and anxiety and the occasional hallucination for as long as I can remember, and was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder with Psychotic Features (good gravy, that's a mouthful) at 17, after having myself admitted to a treatment facility. My mom and stepdad were infuriated, because I “made [them] look like bad parents.” My solution obviously wasn’t ideal, but I’d been dealing with it on my own for too long and I just got tired.

    Point of that backstory is I loved being pregnant. Not the physical effects of the hormones, but the mental ones. For the first time in my life, I could think clearly without feeling like my brain was being gnawed by demons. I had the energy that my depression had sapped. I didn’t panic any time the phone rang or someone knocked on the door. I didn’t obsess on the “what ifs” that I didn’t have answers to. I didn’t think about self-harm or suicide to escape from these things I couldn’t control. Those little chemistry changes are damn powerful.

    We talk about postpartum mental health now, everything from “baby blues” to PPD to postpartum psychosis, but I hardly ever hear anyone even wonder about the opposite: What if that soup of new hormones takes control of the brain of a person with little to no experience with mental illness and turns their thoughts into waking nightmares? Maybe they have no idea this isn’t normal, having been fed all the tropes about hormonal pregnant women snapping at their partners (irrational anger), obsessively cleaning (OCD), gobbling everything in reach only to hork it all up later (bulimia), hearing phantom sounds (paranoia)… maybe they know enough to ask for help, only to be told it’s perfectly normal and “just” hormones and that they’re overreacting. And then, because of the pregnancy, they can’t actually get the help they need– those chemicals can’t be good for the baby, after all (as if that’s the only kind of treatment there is). To top it off, everyone from your mother-in-law to complete strangers feels like they have the right to know everything about your pregnancy and your health. They feel like they’re entitled to “inform” you of everything you’re doing wrong. They will surround you if they can and corner you if they can’t, just to scream their questions and inanities and put their hands all over your body. If you fight back, even if you say so much as a mild “Don’t touch me, leave me alone,” you’re patronized and condescended to, or it’s taken as evidence of the unfit parent you’ll be, and someone should really keep an eye on you so you don’t hurt your baby or yourself– there’s precedent for pregnant women being jailed and hospitalized due to someone else’s “concern.” This part of pregnancy was awful for me, whose brainweasels were actually temporarily calmed by my pregnancies; for someone who’s battling all-new phobias and disorders, it would be terrifying.

    For the record, I agree with you completely about abortion. Everything I mentioned above would be so much worse if the pregnancy was unwanted. As for me, I probably did have postpartum depression/psychosis, but it was just back to business as usual. I’m familiar enough with my shit-brain that I know what’s real and what’s not even during the sudden changes and shifts in my chemistry– so far, at least. I can say I’ve been lucky so far.

    Andrea Yates, Jesus, that poor woman. If I ruled the world, Rusty would be in prison and forbidden from even speaking the names of his poor dead children– but that’s a whole different rant.

    This has gotten hella long. Ann, thank you for your sweet reply to my post. I’m fighting with my gallbladder, but you made me feel a lot better. Wisdom comes from experiences, and I guess I’ve had a few. The main thing I’ve learned is that we’ve got to be kind to each other. Thank you. <3

  • Ann Stone

    Happy to hear from you again, nobig, oh my, sounds as if you’ve been through an awful lot. It’s comforting to hear from such a bright, compassionate person and I can’t help but feel you’ve got a lot to offer the world. Glad you found peace when you were pregnant, and what a wise child you were, to have had the presence of mind to seek help when you knew you needed it (parents be darned). I’m old and still trying to figure out what to do with my demons (my most recent mantra, which seems to be working (I often say it to myself upon waking) is – Don’t think, just move. For far too long I’ve allowed my ever racing mind to think things into dust (leaving me stymied, with nothing to show for it). You should write. I have a feeling a lot of people could find healing in your wisdom. <3