MABLETON, Ga. -- A 13-year-old Mableton girl had her first court appearance, charged with murder after the corpse of her newborn baby was found hidden in a shoebox.
Cobb County Police say the box with the infant's body was tucked under some leaves behind the Sierra Forest Apartments on Mableton Parkway.
Police still don't know if it was an effort to hide the baby, or to bury it out of remorse. But, police say the baby was carried to term. It's still unclear who knew about the pregnancy.
"Apparently she gave birth with her mom and dad asleep next door in the same apartment, gave birth, did it all herself and then found the infant deceased when she woke up in the morning," said police spokesman Dana Pierce.
Police say after the baby died, perhaps trying to process what had happened, the 13 year old showed the infant's body to more than a dozen friends. One of them, so distraught by what he saw, told an adult later at school.
The girl is charged with murder and cruelty for failing to feed or get the baby care. Pierce says the baby was not stillborn, but an autopsy next week will determine whether the baby even took her first breath. If the infant's child was not cleared, it could have choked.
"3 years is way to young to have a baby and is way to young know what it means to have a baby and to adequately take care of the baby," said Emory psychologist Doctor Nadine Kaslow.
She says even if the teen didn't tell her parents about the pregnancy or birth, it makes sense she reached out to friends.
"3 year olds still get attached to the fetus. They still have a connection, its their baby," Kaslow said.
According to the Department of Human Services, Georgia's law allowing mothers to give up their infants without question or fear of prosecution has saved 153 lives in the past decade. But it's unlikely a 13-year old would have known about the law, or been able to get the baby to a hospital or police station unnoticed.
"Even if parents are available to talk about sex and schools do a good job with sex education they tend not to talk about things like safe haven laws," said Kaslow.
This is why Doctor Kaslow says even at 13, it's not too early to have a conversation about sex, options and the consequences.
Police say the baby's 14-year old father, was aware of the pregnancy. But neither he, or the girl's parents face any charges.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call (770) 499-3945.