Young mother admits to leaving newborn in dumpster

EVERETT — His voice was strong enough to save him.

The newborn cried out from among garbage bags and discarded appliances piled up in the industrial trash compactor. His faint cries reached a girl standing outside the dumpster at a south Everett apartment. “Baby Doe,” as the cops first called him, was just a few hours old.

The girl alerted a maintenance worker who had just pulled up to the dumpster. That woman scrambled inside, listening intently, not trusting her ears. “Baby Doe” cried out again. Paula Andrews moved aside some trash and a microwave oven. A tiny foot came into view. An Everett police officer crawled inside and rescued the baby.

The infant was suffering from slight hypothermia, but otherwise healthy.

The boy’s young mother, Samantha Houston, admitted Wednesday that she abandoned her son March 25, after giving birth to him in a shower.

Houston, 18, told police she panicked. The high school student “wrapped the baby up in a towel, walked clear across the apartment complex, and put the baby in the dumpster. Then she walked across the street to 7-Eleven to get something to eat,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Laura Twitchell wrote in the charging papers.

Houston pleaded guilty to second-degree abandonment of a dependent child, a felony. She faces up to a year in jail when she is sentenced next month. Twitchell plans to recommend a nine-month sentence.

Public defender Whitney Rivera is expected to ask the judge to grant her client a first-time offender waiver. That could spare the teen any jail time.

It took Everett police about a month to identify Houston as the boy’s mother. The Daily Herald published a story April 24, reporting that detectives were still searching for the woman. The next day an Everett detective received a tip from an anonymous caller, who said Houston was possibly the mother.

The tipster said Houston was seven or eight months pregnant when she dropped out of Cascade High School. When she returned to classes about a month later she was no longer pregnant. She was evasive with friends who asked about the baby. She left school again about a week before her arrest.

Houston denied that she was the boy’s mother when first confronted by police. Detectives collected a DNA sample from her. Investigators interviewed her a second time after talking to the teen’s friends and mother. Houston admitted that she’d tossed her son out.

The baby was placed in protective custody. In the days after he was rescued, Everett police received numerous calls from people wanting to help and even adopt the infant.

There is a dependency case involving Houston and the child. Those records are not public.

In Washington, mothers can leave their newborns — no questions asked — with a staff member or volunteer at any fire station, rural clinic or hospital emergency room.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463;

More in Local News

Nation’s first coronavirus patient said to be fully recovered

The Snohomish Health District has released the man from home isolation.

Gun-ammunition bill is suffocated by GOP amendments

It’s Day 40 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

Chris Walsh and his wife, Carol, talk outside the Delta Rehabilitation Center about their plans to close the care facility long known as the Snohomish Chalet. Chris is the owner and administrator of the nursing home that cares for people with severe brain injuries. Carol has worked as a nurse there for many years. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Delta Rehabilitation, home to brain injury victims, to close

“There’s no replacement,” head of care facility agency says of place once known as Snohomish Chalet.

A Hamas heir, a nose job, $1.5 million — and global intrigue

An urgent plastic surgery request in Lynnwood may have exposed huge fraud by a Palestinian refugee.

Edmonds School District leaders plan for another school bond

It won’t be in April, but the district could float another bond proposal in August or November.

Boeing asks that its big state tax break be suspended

The company hopes the move will resolve a trade dispute involving European rival Airbus.

Everett defense investigator stripped of license

Witness tampering charges against Michael Powers were dropped, in a deal that ends his career.

Body scanner could replace strip searches in Monroe prison

A new bill suggests using a scanner, like those in airports, to check for contraband on or in people.

High school wrestler steps in after twin faces fight of his life

SULTAN — Tyler Deason was the one his family thought would be competing at the state high school wrestling tournament.

Most Read