Tense trial likely in baby’s death


Herald Writer

On Aug. 20, 1999, Svetlana V. Andrusiv gave birth to a little girl in Everett.

This morning, she goes on trial on a charge of second-degree murder.

Andrusiv, a 19-year-old refugee from Ukraine, is facing allegations of infanticide. Snohomish County prosecutors allege the slender young woman with dark eyes hid her pregnancy and then snuffed out the girl’s life shortly after giving birth to the child, alone, in the bathroom of the north Everett home she shared with her family.

"The evidence is clear that the child was born alive and suffered severe traumatic injuries that caused death," deputy prosecutor Paul Stern said Monday.

An autopsy showed the girl died from asphyxia and chest injuries so severe that all of the baby’s ribs were either dislocated or broken, court papers say.

Opening statements were scheduled this morning. One of Andrusiv’s attorneys, public defender Susan Gaer, declined to talk about the defense she has planned.

Lawyers on both sides spent most of Monday seating a jury. The people picked to hear the case told lawyers that they expect the case to be disturbing.

Not only will the trial probe the death of a newborn, but jurors also will have to decide what should happen to a single mother, then 18, who allegedly killed her baby. If convicted, Andrusiv is facing anywhere from 10 to 18 years in prison.

Andrusiv and her family arrived in the United States from Ukraine in December 1998, settling first in Massachusetts. They came to Snohomish County just weeks before the child’s birth.

The case began when authorities were summoned by Andrusiv’s family and were shown the dead baby in a box.

Speaking through an interpreter, Andrusiv told police that the child was born headfirst into the toilet, and that several minutes passed before she attempted "some degree of resuscitative actions," according to court papers.

The injuries found on the baby’s body were inconsistent with damage that could have been caused by attempts to revive the child, and suggest damage caused by "crushing impact" or "aggressive gripping" of the newborn’s torso, prosecutors allege.

You can call Herald Writer Scott North at 425-339-3431or 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

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Granite Falls ‘10-foot alligator’ is actually a tegu named ‘Tazz’

Anybody who spots the docile lizard, last seen near Granite Falls, is asked to notify 911, so Tazz can be reunited with owner.

Photos by Olivia Vanni / The Herald
Gabby Bullock sits on her bed in a room she shares with another housemate on June 14 in Everett.
‘We don’t have openings’: SnoCo recovery houses struggle with demand

Advocates say the homes are critical for addiction recovery. But home prices make starting a sober living house difficult.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Food safety team defends its work: it’s a ‘high pressure, thankless’ job

Management tried to set the record straight about long permit delays in Snohomish County.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Global tech outage leaves a mark on Snohomish County

The CrowdStrike software update hit some systems at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and briefly disrupted 911 operations.

Performers joust during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire at Sky Meadows Park in Snohomish, Washington, on Sunday, Aug. 06, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Royalty and revelry: The spirit of the Renaissance comes to Monroe

The annual Renaissance fair will open its doors every weekend from July 20 to Aug. 18

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.