Less than a week and a half from her child's due date of October 16, Maritza Ramirez-Cruz from Milwaukee, Wisc., was abducted and beaten with a baseball bat, and the child was cut from her womb using an X-Acto knife.
Why would someone do this? Annette Morales-Rodriguez, 33, and her boyfriend wanted a son. When she couldn't get pregnant, she lied anyway, saying she was. Moreales-Rodriguez appeared in court yesterday and was charged with first-degree intentional homicide while armed and first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child.
Court documents allege Morales-Rodriguez faked a pregnancy for months, then began trolling Milwaukee's streets for pregnant women. After two days of searching, Morales-Rodriguez found Ramirez-Cruz.
Court documents say Morales-Rodriguez lured the young Puerto Rican immigrant into her home. That's where she allegedly beat the pregnant woman with a baseball bat before cutting her full-term fetus from her womb with an X-Acto knife, killing both mother and baby.
Watch the ABC News report:
Morales-Rodriguez told detectives she thought about telling her boyfriend the truth, but decided against it and offered Ramirez-Cruz a ride.
Telling Ramirez-Cruz she needed to change her shoes, she drove them to her weathered two-story house on Milwaukee's south side. Ramirez-Cruz went inside to use the bathroom. When she emerged, Morales-Rodriguez was waiting for her with a baseball bat and she began to bludgeon her.
Ramirez-Cruz fell to the ground. Morales-Rodriguez straddled the younger woman and choked her until she passed out, the criminal complaint said. 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.
When she pulled the fetus out, the baby wasn't breathing, Morales-Rodriguez said. She smeared some of Ramirez-Cruz's blood around her thighs to make people think she herself was bleeding from giving birth. Then she called 911 and said she'd given birth to a stillborn. She was taken to a hospital, but left before she was fully examined, the complaint said.
An autopsy the next day revealed that the baby wasn't the product of a natural birth. Police returned to Morales-Rodriguez's house that day and took her back to the hospital. An examination verified she hadn't given birth and officers arrested her.
Morales-Rodriguez is due back in court Oct. 19 for a preliminary hearing.
According to the Daily Mail, neighbor Keila Perez said Morales-Rodriguez already had three other children, to which her current boyfriend was not the father.
The Ramirez-Cruz moved from Puerto Rico to join her childhood sweetheart, Christian Mercado, said Mercado's father, Carlos Mercado. They had three children together and Ramirez-Cruz was carrying their fourth.
Carlos Mercado, 59, said he couldn't stand up when he heard Ramirez-Cruz was dead.
"My heart, oh my God, it's hurting me. I can't sleep," he said.
His son, who declined to speak with reporters at his home Monday, must now raise the couple's three children alone without much money, Carlos Mercado said. The oldest child is only six.
"He'll have to be the mother and father. I don't know how he's going to make it. He's got to grow them up, take them to school, get them in the shower," Mercado said. "He's real sad. He's real hurt."
Here is a news report from the local Fox channel:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.