Andrusiv baby was alive at birth

By SCOTT NORTH

Herald Writer

Baby Girl Andrusiv was about 20 inches long and weighed 6 pounds 2 ounces when born Aug. 20. She died that same day with bloody tears to her liver and one of her lungs and bruises on her abdomen and head.

An autopsy showed the newborn’s ribs were snapped like twigs and dislocated from her spine, Dr. Gina Fino, a forensic pathologist, told a Snohomish County jury Wednesday.

"How does a little infant get injuries that look like that?" deputy prosecutor Paul Stern asked.

"By squeezing," Fino said.

The testimony came on the second day of trial for Svetlana V. Andrusiv, 19, who is charged with second-degree murder.

Prosecutors allege that Andrusiv, a refugee from Ukraine, hid her pregnancy and then squeezed the life out of her newborn because she didn’t want to be a parent. Andrusiv’s attorneys counter that the death was unintentional, and that the young woman gave birth, alone in the bathroom of a north Everett home, thinking she was having a miscarriage.

Andrusiv’s daughter lived so briefly that she was never given a name. The child is officially known as Baby Girl Andrusiv.

The newborn’s death came under investigation after authorities were called to Andrusiv’s home and were shown the baby’s body in a cardboard box. Andrusiv told police that the child was born headfirst into a toilet, and that several minutes passed before she attempted resuscitation, according to court papers.

Fino conducted an autopsy on the child.

She said the evidence was clear that the child had been born alive, had taken several breaths, and died as a result of bleeding and squeezing injuries to her chest. In her opinion, the injuries could not be explained by birth trauma or an attempt at cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Fino said.

Stern had Fino demonstrate on a life-size doll, depicting a newborn, how she believed the child was gripped around the chest with both hands and her ribs compressed until they broke. Great force would have been required, she said.

Andrusiv’s trial is expected to last into next week. If convicted, she faces anywhere from 10 to 18 years in prison.

You can call Herald Writer Scott North at 425-339-3431or send e-mail to

north@heraldnet.com.

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