Friday, May 4, 2001

This is the Koloa house where Kauai police found a dead baby
hidden in a trash can Monday afternoon. The mother was
arrested yesterday and released pending further investigation.

Mother of
newborn found in
trash is arrested

An autopsy shows that the
baby of the Kauai nursing
student died of suffocation

By Anthony Sommer

LIHUE >> Police have arrested 21-year-old Christine A. Robles on charges of second-degree murder in the death of her newborn son, found in a trash can behind her parents' Koloa home on Monday.

Robles was booked yesterday but not formally charged with any crime. She was released without having to post bail pending further investigation. The baby's body was released to the family yesterday afternoon.

Autopsy results received late Wednesday showed the baby was born alive and died of asphyxiation. Robles, who had been hospitalized since Monday, was arrested upon her release from the hospital. She lives with her parents and two siblings and is a nursing student at Kauai Community College.

Police said they learned her mother found a document from Wilcox Memorial Hospital indicating Robles was pregnant. They said she denied she was pregnant and apparently kept her pregnancy secret.

"She didn't look like she was pregnant," neighbor Ernesto Paden said yesterday. "I hope they go easy on her. She goes to church all the time, and I think maybe she was just scared, that's all."

Paden said he called paramedics shortly after noon Wednesday after Robles' father knocked on his door and told him his daughter had fallen. He said he went to the house and saw Robles on her knees in the bathroom in a deep puddle of water.

"She was just kneeling down in the water in the bathroom. I didn't see any blood," recalled Paden, a retired Grove Farm sugar worker.

After medical personnel realized she had just given birth, they asked police to search the house for a baby. Although detectives have refused to confirm it, numerous sources have said the baby was found dead in a rice bag inside a trash container in the back yard.

Police also have refused to say if they have learned who placed the baby in the container or if other members of the family are facing criminal charges.

Family members were home yesterday but declined a request for an interview.

Deputy County Prosecutor Craig De Costa refused to answer specific questions about the case.

But he said in general, the arrest and booking of a suspect is a routine procedure conducted so officers have photographs and fingerprints of the individual in case an arrest warrant later is issued and the suspect has fled.

He said it usually indicates detectives have not completed their investigation.

"If a felony charge is indicated, it would go to the grand jury," De Costa said.

De Costa said there sometimes is a lengthy time period between the initial arrest and an indictment. The six-month time limit for bringing an accused person to trial does not begin running until there is a formal charge.

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