Mother Arrested After Allegedly Abandoning Newborn Baby in Dumpster

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
May 10, 2019USshare
Mother Arrested After Allegedly Abandoning Newborn Baby in Dumpster
Rafaelle Sousa was arrested on May 9, 2019, after allegedly abandoning her baby in a dumpster in Boca Raton, Florida. (Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office)

A Florida mother who appears to be an illegal immigrant has been arrested after abandoning her newborn baby in a dumpster, deputies said.

Rafaelle Alessandra Carbalho Sousa was taken into custody and charged with attempted felony murder, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office on May 10.

“After being interviewed by detectives Rafaelle admitted to delivering the baby, placing her in a bag and throwing her in the dumpster,” the office stated.

At her initial court appearance Thursday, Circuit Judge Ted Booras ordered Sousa held without bond on charges of attempted felony murder and aggravated child abuse, reported the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“She is not allowed to have contact with the minor child, the victim in this case,” Booras said. She was also ordered not to have any contact with the baby’s father.

A federal immigration hold was placed on Sousa, indicating she is in the country illegally. She required a Portuguese translator in court.

The newborn baby girl was found alive in a dumpster in an apartment complex in Boca Raton on May 8.

The sheriff’s office said that the baby, either African-American or Hispanic, was just born when she was abandoned with the umbilical cord attached.

Two people walking in the complex around 9 a.m. heard the baby crying and looked in the dumpster. The child was rushed to the hospital.

“It’s disgusting that someone could do that to a newborn. It kind of hit home,” Krystal Malta, a neighbor who just gave birth to her own baby girl one month ago, told WPTV.

“I cried, it was really sad. I don’t know how anyone could do that to their own kid. I don’t know how anyone could have that in them.”

“Thanks to God this baby is alive,” Shella Dominique, a nurse who had just gotten home from work when the distressing discovery was made, told the Sun-Sentinel. “If you would have knocked on my door, I would have taken the baby,” she added.

A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s department said after the baby was found that the complex was large so it would take several days to investigate who left the baby.

Nick Silverio, founder of A Safe Haven for Newborns, which helps place newborns given up by parents, said that people can leave babies at several places.

“She’s alive, which is great,” he said. “We just want to make sure everybody knows this doesn’t ever, ever have to happen.”

The state’s Safe haven Law lets parents leave newborns no older than a week at a fire station or hospital emergency room without being charged with a crime. Since the law was passed in 2000, 302 babies have been surrendered, including six so far this year.

“What we’re finding,” Silverio said. “Is if a baby is truly abandoned, the mother was either on drugs or has a mental health issue.”

Anyone with information was asked to call Crime Stoppers of Palm Beach County at 1-800-458-TIPS.

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