The mother of a newborn girl whose body was found in a camper trailer in Alcalde might have been using heroin up until the birth, according to a new court document, and has gone missing since an initial interview with state police investigating the baby’s death.
A newly filed search warrant affidavit and other New Mexico State Police reports say the baby’s father contacted the agency Aug. 16, saying he had left his pregnant girlfriend in La Madera while he took a short trip to Colorado. He returned to find the woman had given birth, he told officers, but said she would not tell him where the baby was.
The father said his girlfriend — who is not being named because she has not been charged in the infant’s death — was a frequent heroin user and had been using the drug during the pregnancy.
State police found the woman at a camper trailer in Alcalde, where they also discovered the newborn’s remains in a trash bag inside the home, according to reports. Officers who questioned the mother said she had given inconsistent and confusing explanations about what had happened to the child.
State police investigators filed an initial round of search warrants for the homes in Alcalde and La Madera.
A new search warrant affidavit filed Oct. 1 — following completion of an autopsy and toxicology reports on the baby in late September — sought access to the mother’s cellphone, which police had seized in the early days of the investigation. The affidavit said the phone could contain “essential evidence.”
The toxicology reports showed amphetamine, methamphetamine, heroin and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — the psychoactive component of cannabis — in the baby’s system, according to the affidavit.
The search warrant was not executed, however, the affidavit said. It did not give a reason.
A state police spokesman did not respond to requests for comment on whether the woman would face charges or why the search warrant was not executed.
According to the affidavit, the woman had used the cellphone to call and text her father and an ex-husband to discuss the child’s death “and what she should tell police” about it in the early hours of Aug. 17, while she was sitting in the backseat of a police vehicle.
Investigators said the child’s father told them the woman had been refusing his calls and would provide only limited responses by text. The man spent two days searching for the child at hospitals in Española and Santa Fe, reports said.
“The lack of answers by text, or answers designed to misdirect [the father] are essential evidence in the successful prosecution of this case,” Agent Alexander Bennett wrote in the affidavit.
Bennett said the infant’s mother “provided a vague and conflicting timeline of events, often caught up in her own lies, being forced to correct earlier statements.” She admitted she had given birth at her home in La Madera and claimed to have been alone at the time, he wrote, adding she cited that as the reason for the child’s death.
The woman eventually said the baby was stillborn, and that she had been using her phone to research a way to conduct a traditional tribal burial, Bennett said.
The woman’s brother and father gave similar explanations for the delay in reporting the child’s death, saying the plan had been to hold a traditional tribal burial for the girl.
Investigators also interviewed a woman who said she had assisted with the birth and had seen the mother smoking heroin “even through the final stages of pushing her child from her womb, eventually seeing … child born, in her estimation, dead,” Bennett wrote.
According to the affidavit, the woman said the mother had sent a text message asking her to stay at the La Madera home before the birth.
Bennett said in the affidavit he had made several unsuccessful attempts to find the mother and get her cellphone password. As of Sept. 27, he wrote, he had obtained a new phone number for her but had not been able to reach her.