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Woman arrested after newborn found dead in bar bathroom
(CNN) -- A Pennsylvania woman is being held without bond, with prosecutors alleging she gave birth to a baby boy in a bar bathroom, killed him and left his body in a toilet tank.
According to prosecutors, 26-year-old Amanda Catherine Hein went to Starters Pub in Lower Saucon Township on August 18 to watch a pay-per-view wrestling event with three men. The following morning, a cleaning crew allegedly discovered the dead body of a newborn baby wrapped in a plastic bag in a toilet tank in the ladies bathroom.
Investigators found that one of the booths in the bar had brown staining and liquid on it consistent with blood, according to Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli. Police checked the bar's records and made contact with the person who had reserved the booth for the event that night.
Police then interviewed Luis Rivera, who said he sat in that booth with Hein during the event. Rivera claimed Hein complained about discomfort and spasms that evening before excusing herself to go to the bathroom, Morganelli told reporters Monday.
Rivera said Hein was gone for "an extended period of time," then returned to the table and went outside to smoke a cigarette, according to Morganelli.
When Hein came back, Rivera allegedly asked if she was okay and she said she was but she was in pain. She stayed for about an hour to watch the rest of the event. Rivera noticed that there appeared to be liquid on Hein's clothes that looked like blood, Morganelli said.
Rivera asked multiple times if Hein needed to go a hospital but she refused, so he dropped her off at home, according to authorities.
A medical examiner performed an autopsy on the baby's body on August 20, finding that the boy was born alive and viable and had gestated for 33-36 weeks. The cause of death was determined to be suffocation.
When Hein was interviewed by police, she allegedly admitted she gave birth in a bathroom stall and left the baby in the toilet tank, court documents stated.
A probable-cause affidavit alleged: "She placed the child in a plastic bag which she obtained from the garbage can in the stall. She then put the plastic bag containing the child in the water tank for the toilet. Hein advised after she placed the bag and child in the toilet tank, she returned to the dining area until the event was over."
Morganelli said Monday that Hein had known she was pregnant for a few months but did not tell anyone. Investigators are still trying to determine who the child's father was.
Prosecutors have not yet made a decision on whether to seek the death penalty in the case. Morganelli told reporters he does not know what may have motivated Hein to allegedly kill her child.
"I cannot get inside this lady's head," he said. "I have no clue."
Morganelli described the case as "very upsetting."
Northhampton County Coroner Zachary Lysek reminded reporters that Pennsylvania has safe-haven laws that allow a parent to relinquish a child to the state at any hospital up to 28 days after birth with no questions asked.
"It's a sad situation," Morganelli said. "This young lady made a very, very bad choice. Why? I don't know."
Court records do not indicate whether Hein has an attorney. Her stepmother told the Morning Call newspaper that she had not even known Hein was pregnant.
Hein appeared in court Monday for a preliminary arraignment on a criminal homicide charge. She was denied bond.