Teen-ager testifies in newborn’s death


Herald Writer

A young woman charged with squeezing the life out of her newborn daughter in an Everett bathroom Aug. 20 testified Friday she didn’t realize she’d given birth to a full-term child until detectives questioned her about the death hours later.

Svetlana V. Andrusiv, 19, told a Snohomish County jury that she did not know she was pregnant and had no idea she was in labor until the child’s birth was well under way. The first time she saw her daughter was when the baby was in the toilet at the Everett home where she gave birth, confused, afraid and alone.

Andrusiv said she was surprised by how large the child was, because she believed she was having a miscarriage.

"I saw that it was a girl and she was pretty with blond hair," the slim, young refugee from Ukraine said, testifying with the aid of an interpreter.

Snohomish County prosecutors have charged Andrusiv with second-degree murder, alleging she hid her pregnancy and killed her child because she didn’t want to be a parent. Andrusiv’s attorneys say the death was unintentional.

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

The girl was born fully formed and lived long enough to take several breaths, jurors have been told. An autopsy showed the newborn’s ribs were snapped like twigs and dislocated from her spine. She also had bloody tears to her liver and one of her lungs, and bruises on her abdomen and head.

Andrusiv took the witness stand at the close of the fourth day of her murder trial. Most of her testimony was in Russian, but from time to time the teen-ager, who has lived in the United States since December 1998, slipped into heavily accented English.

Andrusiv told jurors how she moved to the United States, along with her family, when she was 17. Before leaving her homeland, she testified, Andrusiv had sex with a boyfriend, who is the presumed father of her child.

Andrusiv said she was not overly concerned when she began to experience signs of pregnancy, including some weight gain and a break in her menstrual cycle. The young woman said she’s always had irregular periods.

The family settled in Massachusetts, and Andrusiv said that is where she met another young man and fell in love. The couple began having sex in May 1999, not long before she turned 18, she said.

Andrusiv told how in June she underwent a complete physical exam. The doctor did not tell her she was pregnant, she testified.

But by July, Andrusiv said she began to feel movement from the fetus, and believed that she could be pregnant, but also thought it could be a problem with digestion "or I thought something was wrong with my stomach."

Andrusiv and other members of her family came to Everett to live with relatives. She said she was initially relieved when she began bleeding, believing that she had begun menstruating, and her fears of pregnancy were unfounded. Instead, over the next day Andrusiv began to experience symptoms of labor.

Andrusiv testified that she was in great pain but didn’t really know what was happening until after the child was born.

After the birth, the young woman said she pulled the child from the toilet, placed her on some towels and attempted to revive the baby by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

When asked to demonstrate what she did, Andrusiv stood at the witness stand, placed both of her hands on top and lightly pressed down several times.

The teen then told how she cleaned up the bathroom and had wrapped her child in a towel and newspaper.

There wasn’t much blood to be cleaned up, Andrusiv said, because she’d been careful to make sure that most of the evidence of the birth wound up in the toilet.

"It’s just the way I am," she testified. "I am not a messy person."

If convicted as charged, Andrusiv could face anywhere from 10 to 18 years in prison.

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


Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

2 injured in Bothell Everett Highway crash

The highway was briefly reduced to one northbound lane while police investigated the three-car crash Saturday afternoon.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
On I-5 in Everett, traffic nightmare is reminder we’re ‘very vulnerable’

After a police shooting shut down the freeway, commutes turned into all-night affairs. It was just a hint of what could be in a widespread disaster.

Anthony Brock performs at Artisans PNW during the first day of the Fisherman’s Village Music Fest on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At downtown Everett musical festival: ‘Be weird and dance with us’

In its first night, Fisherman’s Village brought together people who “might not normally be in the same room together” — with big acts still to come.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Judge reduces bail for driver accused of killing Marysville trooper

After hearing from Raul Benitez Santana’s family, a judge decreased bail to $100,000. A deputy prosecutor said he was “very disappointed.”

Pet detective Jim Branson stops to poke through some fur that Raphael the dog found while searching on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Everett, Washington. Branson determined the fur in question was likely from a rabbit, and not a missing cat.(Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lost a pet? Pet detective James Branson and his dogs may be able to help

James Branson, founder of Three Retrievers Lost Pet Rescue, helps people in the Seattle area find their missing pets for $350.

Whidbey Renaissance Faire volunteers pose in their costumes. (Photo by Bree Eaton)
Faire thee well: Renaissance is coming to Whidbey Island

The volunteer-run fair May 25 and 26 will feature dancers, a juggler, ‘Fakespeare,’ various live music shows and lots of food.

Community Transit leaders, from left, Chief Communications Officer Geoff Patrick, Zero-Emissions Program Manager Jay Heim, PIO Monica Spain, Director of Maintenance Mike Swehla and CEO Ric Ilgenfritz stand in front of Community Transit’s hydrogen-powered bus on Monday, May 13, 2024, at the Community Transit Operations Base in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New hydrogen, electric buses get trial run in Snohomish County

As part of a zero-emission pilot program from Community Transit, the hydrogen bus will be the first in the Puget Sound area.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Video: Man charged at trooper, shouting ‘Who’s the boss?’ before shooting

The deadly shooting shut down northbound I-5 near Everett for hours. Neither the trooper nor the deceased had been identified as of Friday.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Road rage, fatal police shooting along I-5 blocks traffic near Everett

An attack on road workers preceded a report of shots fired Thursday, snarling freeway traffic in the region for hours.

The Port of Everett and Everett Marina on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Is Port of Everett’s proposed expansion a ‘stealth tax?’ Judge says no

A Snohomish resident lost a battle in court this week protesting what he believes is a misleading measure from the Port of Everett.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.