Wisconsin woman faces charges in cutting out fetus
A woman who faked a pregnancy and panicked as her supposed due date grew near attacked a pregnant mother with a baseball bat and cut her full-term fetus from her womb with an Exacto knife, killing the mother and baby, according to court documents filed Monday.
Annette Morales-Rodriguez, 33, faces one count each of first-degree intentional homicide while armed and first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child while armed in the death of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz and the boy she was set to deliver next week. Morales-Rodriguez faces mandatory life in prison if convicted.
Morales-Rodriguez made a brief court appearance Monday, standing silent as her bail was set at $1 million.
"I don't know what she had in her mind," said Maria Garcia, 44, who lives next to Morales-Rodriguez and described her as her best friend.
Boyfriend wanted son
According to the criminal complaint, Morales-Rodriguez told detectives that her boyfriend wanted a son but she was unable to become pregnant. She told him she was pregnant anyway, but grew desperate as her supposed due date approached.
She told investigators she planned for two weeks to find a pregnant woman, take the baby and make it hers, the complaint said. On Thursday, she drove around a nonprofit organization that provides Latinos with health care and found Ramirez-Cruz.
The 23-year-old had moved from Puerto Rico to join her childhood sweetheart, Christian Mercado, said Mercado's father, Carlos Mercado. They already had three children together and Ramirez-Cruz was carrying their fourth.
"My heart, oh my God, it's hurting me. I can't sleep," Carlos Mercado said.
Morales-Rodriguez offered Ramirez-Cruz a ride. Telling Ramirez-Cruz she needed to change her shoes, she drove them to her house on Milwaukee's south side. Ramirez-Cruz went inside to use the bathroom. When she emerged, Morales-Rodriguez allegedly attacked her with a baseball bat and then choked her.
Morales-Rodriguez then duct-taped Ramirez-Cruz's feet and hands and taped over her mouth and nose. She cut her open with the knife, the complaint said, telling detectives she was trying to imitate a procedure she had seen on the Discovery Channel.