A New York teenage girl will go to trial for shoplifting, even though she was found in a New York City lingerie store carrying a dead fetus in a shopping bag. Authorities will continue to investigate the circumstances which led to the fetus’ death.
New York Criminal Court Judge Erika Edwards turned down a defense request to dismiss the shoplifting charges. Judge Edwards instead ruled that Tiona Rodriguez, age 17, will go to trial on Jan. 23, 2014 for a violation of theft. However, the judge only charged the teenager with stolen property possession. Meanwhile, a friend that was with the teenager at the time she was discovered with the dead baby also faces shoplifting charges in the same incident.
Rodriguez was in a New York City Victoria’s Secret lingerie store with the friend when she was stopped by a security guard who believed she had been shoplifting. When he went through the teenager’s bag, he discovered the dead fetus.
Several medical experts are still trying to determine if the baby was dead or alive when the teen delivered it. Apparently, there has yet to be any definitive medical indication of whether the child was still-born or not. They also explained that, depending on what they found, more charges could possibly follow.
Rodriguez allegedly informed law enforcement that she had been carrying the fetus around since she gave birth to the child the day before. She reportedly stated she was not sure what to do with the body. The teen’s legal defense team did not disclose why or how the fetus was in the shopping bag or reveal the child’s gender, according to authorities in October. Her attorneys declared that they did not believe there would be any reason for more charges to be filed against the teen girl.
The teenage mother already has a son who is 2 years of age. She has not yet gone back to her old high school since her arrest, instead deciding to continue her education through alternative means, stated her lawyers. It is unknown if she will eventually return to the school or not.
Rodriguez will only be going to trial for supposedly trying to steal a pair of jeans. There was never any mention made of possible charges regarding the deceased fetus during the preliminary proceedings. The girl stated on Tuesday that she was completely innocent of the shoplifting charge. The jeans she is accused of trying to steal were worth around $45.
However, the friend of Rodriguez, who is also 17, was charged with shoplifting because she was allegedly caught trying to steal over $200 worth of clothes. She ended up pleading guilty to the lesser charge of disorderly conduct and will spend two days providing community service as sentence for her crime. A finding of disorderly conduct is on the same par as a traffic ticket. It remains to be seen if New York teen Rodriguez will have to go to trial for anything to do with her dead fetus.
By Kimberly Ruble