Mother accused of drowning newborn in toilet
Sanchia Rae Xavier-Velez is charged with aggravated child abuse and first-degree murder.
A 28-year-old Orlando mother was arrested Friday after being accused of drowning her newborn in a toilet last month.
Sanchia Rae Xavier-Velez is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in the Nov. 3 death of her daughter, Jazmyne Rayne Gowers-Velez, who was born at home, according to Orlando Police.
Police suspect Xavier-Velez drowned her daughter at her apartment near the Orlando Executive Airport. An autopsy determined that the 4-pound, 5-ounce baby was born alive, though Xavier-Velez insisted she was stillborn.
A doctor found evidence that the girl had been breathing before she died.
Her lungs were expanded and she had an air bubble in her stomach "which indicated she was gasping for air," reports show. She also had water in her lungs.
Xavier-Velez is being held without bond at the Orange County Jail.
She also has a 7-year-old daughter, who has been placed in supervised care by the Department of Children and Families.
Xavier-Velez arrived at Florida Hospital Altamonte on Nov. 3 with a dead infant inside a green drawstring backpack, according to an arrest warrant.
She told hospital workers she delivered the baby in a toilet at her Orlando apartment.
Investigators with Seminole County Sheriff's Office interviewed Xavier-Velez, but later turned the case over to Orlando police. Xavier-Velez told detectives she had recently been fired from her job after four years, lost her health insurance and did not qualify for government programs.
The infant's father, who did not live with Xavier-Velez, was working out of state when the death occurred, documents show.
She said after she put her 7-year-old to bed, she sat on the couch "thinking about how I was going to pay for everything," and then felt the need to urinate.
When she went to the bathroom she felt the "urge to push" and delivered the baby, according to the warrant. When she tried to stand up, she became overwhelmed and sat back down.
Asked if she was able to see her daughter in the toilet, she told detectives: "Yes, I remember being able to turn and see her little head."
After the delivery, Xavier-Velez told investigators she felt "immobile" and collapsed across the bathtub, falling asleep for up to three hours.
When she awoke, she took the dead baby out of the toilet, cut the umbilical cord, rinsed her off in the bathtub and wrapped her in a bath mat, according to the document. Instead of calling 911, she cleaned up the bathroom and then lay down on the couch and went to sleep, police said.
"That is not how I respond to things," Xavier-Velez said about why she didn't seek help, the report says. She also said she felt she could not drive and her cell phone had been turned off.
Later that morning Xavier-Velez put the infant's body in the trunk of her car. Then she woke up her 7-year-old daughter and took her to school.
That's when she went to the hospital, where she was later interviewed by police.
"God forbid I killed my baby because she was moving, but she wasn't moving when she was in that toilet," she told investigators.
Detectives also discovered Xavier-Velez had a history of unwanted pregnancies. She gave up one child for adoption as a teen; she contemplated aborting her daughter and had an abortion two years ago, according to the document.
When investigators executed a search warrant at Xavier-Velez's apartment they noted there weren't any baby items inside.
"During the search of the one bedroom apartment one could not help but notice the lack of any items (diapers, formula or a crib) which would be associated with the expectation of an infant coming to the home in three weeks," the affidavit read.
Xavier-Velez told investigators she had purchased a car seat and a portable crib a month prior, but had returned them because she needed the cash.
A friend who often cares for the 7-year-old on the weekends told a detective that Xavier-Velez never told her she was pregnant. The boss who fired Xavier-Velez said he was not aware of her pregnancy, but would not have let her go if he had known she was expecting, the affidavit said.
Xavier-Velez is expected to go before a judge Saturday morning.