Police: Woman put baby in trash bag moments after birth

Donita M. Hawkins (Photo courtesy Portsmouth police)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth woman was arraigned Monday morning on a charge of second-degree murder. Police believe she killed her newborn son moments after birth.

According to court documents, 40-year-old Donita Marie Hawkins told police she smoked crack cocaine on Wednesday night. The next morning, around 9 a.m., she awoke to labor pains.

“She then felt a push and witnessed the baby come out of her and land on the bed,” according to a probable cause summary filed by a Portsmouth police detective.

Mother arrested in Portsmouth infant death case

The summary states that the baby boy, who was full term, was breathing after the delivery. The medical examiner also determined the baby had air in his lungs before death.

Police say Hawkins then placed the baby on the bed and covered his whole body with sheets, cut the umbilical cord, then placed the baby into a trash bag and closed it up. Police list the time of the incident as 10:05 a.m.

But police say it was more than four hours later, around 2:30 that afternoon, that Hawkins called a friend to notify him that her water broke. That friend called police dispatch at 2:40 p.m., and stayed with Hawkins until medics arrived.

The friend reported to police that Hawkins had the trash bag in her hand when walking to the medics. But neither the friend nor medics seemed to know the baby was inside.

When Hawkins arrived at Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center, she reportedly pulled the bag out from under her sheet and asked a doctor, “What do you want me to do with this?”

“What is that?” the doctor asked, according to the probable cause summary.

“The baby,” Hawkins replied.

Hawkins also allegedly stated that she did not want the baby, could not afford it and that it was an unwanted pregnancy, according to police.