Baby in Toilet Case: Mom Will be Tried

The mother accused of suffocating her newborn then dumping the body in the tank of a bar toilet will go on trial for the child's death.

On Monday, Northampton County Magisterial Judge David Tidd ruled that Amanda Catherine Hein should go on trial for criminal homicide.

Hein was charged in August after a baby's body was found in a restaurant toilet.

Police say that the 26-year-old Allentown, Pa. resident suffocated her baby with a plastic bag and then put the baby in the tank of a toilet in the woman's restroom inside Starters Pub in Lower Saucon Township.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli says Hein was at the pub with three men on the night of Aug. 18 to watch a pay-per-view event.

One of the men she was with that night told police that at one point she excused herself to go to the restroom and didn't return for an "extended period of time," according to Morganelli.

"He and the others became concerned about her and texted her to see if she was OK," said Morganelli.

Authorities say that Hein went into labor and had the baby in the restroom. Luis Rivera, one of the men Hein was with that night, told police she returned from the bathroom stained with blood. Rivera says she refused help, however, and didn't reveal what happened.

Investigators say Hein stayed at the pub for another hour and continued to watch the event before she left. A cleaning crew found the baby the next day in the toilet tank.

"Inside the tank was a fetus," pub owner David Rank told NBC10 Philadelphia.

"The baby was four to seven weeks early at the time of delivery," said Morganelli.

Hein continues to be held without bail, according to court records.

She could end up facing the death penalty if she's found guilty of the charges against her. The intentional killing of a child under the age of 12 is a capital offense.

Hein's defense team earlier requested that a second autopsy be performed on the baby to determined if the child was actually born alive.

Pennsylvania is one of 49 states that offer mothers safe -- and legal -- alternatives to abandoning their babies. The Safe Haven Law allows parents to relinquish babies at any hospital in the state without fear of criminal prosecution, provided that the child is unharmed.

Starters Pub is a popular spot in the Lehigh Valley and served as a landmark location for Eagles fans headed up to training camp since its founding in 2000 until the team moved training camp back to Philly this season. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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