Teen mother panicked when she put newborn in trash, police say

EVERETT — A teenager allegedly told police that she panicked when she gave birth in the shower last month. She wrapped the baby boy in a towel and walked outside.

“She didn’t know what to do so she placed him in the trash,” Everett police detective Andrew Williams wrote in an affidavit filed Friday.

Samantha Houston, 18, was arrested Thursday for investigation of abandonment of a dependant person. Everett detectives received an anonymous tip Tuesday naming Houston as the possible mother. The Herald had published a front page story Monday about the ongoing search for the baby’s mother, Williams wrote.

The caller reported that Houston was up to eight months pregnant when she dropped out of school in the middle of March. She was out of school for about a month. She was no longer pregnant when she returned to classes April 18.

Houston allegedly refused to talk about what happened with her friends. She dropped out of school again a few days later and cut off contact with her friends, Williams wrote.

A friend reported to police that Houston came to her in the fall with concerns. The friend suggested that Houston, then 17, take a pregnancy test, which reportedly came back positive. The friend told detectives that Houston was showing in December and used to talk to the “baby bump.”

The new court documents do not mention the child’s father.

The baby was discovered March 25 in a trash compactor outside an apartment building in the 800 block of 112th Street SE. An unidentified woman heard his cries. She told an apartment maintenance worker, who crawled into the compactor.

Paula Andrews found the boy under trash bags and a microwave. His umbilical cord was still attached. He was only a few hours old.

“Fortunately, he was only suffering some slight hypothermia,” Williams wrote. “He has been seen by doctors since and is completely healthy.”

Houston made a brief appearance Friday in Everett District Court. A judge agreed to release her without imposing bail. Houston isn’t allowed to have contact with “Baby Doe” or any other children under the age of 10.

The boy remains in protective custody. The state Department of Social and Health Services has to go through a court process to determine the custody for abandoned babies, who often are placed in foster homes and adopted.

Her attorney argued against the no-contact order with minors.

Gabe Rothstein said that could be difficult given that she is a high school student. He said that Houston’s mother has been in touch with the principal of the school her daughter attends to look into having her do her school work at home or possibly online.

Herald writer Eric Stevick contributed to this story.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463, hefley@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @dianahefley.

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