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NANCY GRACE

14-Year-Old Suffocates Her Newborn

Aired October 2, 2012 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, live, Lakeland, Florida. Mom is picking up after her 14-year-old girl when she gets the shock of a lifetime. There in a cardboard shoebox, wrapped in wet, filthy laundry, she finds a full-term baby boy dead.

Bombshell tonight. The full-term nine-pound baby boy brutally beaten, 32 blows to the baby`s head, blunt force trauma, the baby covered in bruises to the neck, the jaw, the sternum, showing manual strangulation. Mom first says her little 14-year-old was never pregnant, that the 14-year- old girl took two pregnancy tests, both negative.

Tonight, we learn the awful truth. The 14-year-old girl runs water over those pregnancy test sticks, hides her stomach, pries the baby out of her body with scissors, and then beats and strangles the baby boy to death in the family bathroom behind a locked door.

If she did that even to a puppy or a kitten, she would be behind bars, much less to a tiny baby!

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess my sister -- my sister is the one that found it. Yes, get somebody here quick! Please, please, please, get somebody here quick! It`s a full -- please!

911 OPERATOR: We`re on the way. We`re on the way. Stop. Listen. We`re on the way. Just get away from it for right now, OK? Ma`am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

911 OPERATOR: Where is that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, it`s in the sink now, and she put it -- I don`t know where -- exactly where she found it (INAUDIBLE)

911 OPERATOR: You don`t know where she found it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They will have to talk to the mother when they - - when she gets here, but right now, it`s in the kitchen sink.

911 OPERATOR: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And nobody`s in the house, but she found it in bags and she put it in the kitchen sink.

What`s going to happen to her?

911 OPERATOR: That I`m not too sure about. That`s something that you`re going to want to discuss with the officers and the paramedics, OK?

(END AUDIO CLIP)

GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us.

Bombshell tonight. To Lakeland, Florida, mom picking up after her 14- year-old when she gets the shock of a lifetime. There in a cardboard shoebox, wrapped in wet, filthy laundry, she finds a full-term baby boy dead, the nine-pound baby brutally beaten, 32 blows to the baby`s head, blunt force trauma, covered in bruises to the neck, jaw, sternum. Tonight, we learn the awful truth.

We are live and taking your calls. Straight out to Brett Larson, investigative reporter. Brett, what happened?

BRETT LARSON, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Nancy, this is just a horrific, horrific story. We`ve got this high school teenage girl who hides her pregnancy, then goes to give birth in the bathroom, runs the water and bites a towel to cover up her screams.

And when the labor takes too long, she uses a pair of scissors to cut the baby out, hitting the baby in the head 32 times before finally getting it out. She strangles it when it has a pulse and kills it, only to wash herself and the baby and dump it in a shoebox.

GRACE: To David Lohr, senior crime reporter with HuffingtonPost. David, how do we know that she knew, the 14-year-old little girl -- that she knew the baby had a pulse?

DAVID LOHR, HUFFINGTONPOST: According to law enforcement, after she got the baby out, she checked to see if it had a pulse. The baby was alive, and she squeezed him until he stopped moving.

GRACE: Wait a minute. David Lohr, I appreciate you telling me that she squeezed the baby until it stopped moving. But that`s not really what the evidence shows. The evidence shows 32 contusions, subarachnoid bruising to the brain, to the head. So she didn`t just squeeze the baby. There are 32 distinct blows that I know of to the baby`s body, David Lohr.

LOHR: Well, yes, she used scissors to pry the baby out of her. I mean, this is what she had told law enforcement. And at the time she squeezed the baby to death, the umbilical cord was still attached.

GRACE: Joining me right now is a special guest out of Lakeland. It is the Polk County sheriff`s office. With me is the sheriff, Grady Judd. Sheriff, thank you for being with us.

SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, POLK COUNTY (via telephone): Nancy, I`m glad to be with you.

GRACE: Sheriff, you know, when I first heard about this story, I imagined myself at age 14, and I kind of sided with the little girl. And I thought -- what must have been going through her mind. But now that I`m reading the vicious attack on the little baby and I`m thinking about my children at that young age, at birth -- they couldn`t even open their eyes. And this baby has 32 blows to the head.

Sheriff, I know you cannot comment fully on this case, but how were you guys alerted to the crime scene?

JUDD: Nancy, let me first point out that the 32 blows to the head may not be created by anything other than the scissors. This child -- and she is a child, and we don`t need to forget that, and that is kind of the emotional wrangle that we`re in.

This child said she tried to pry the baby out. It appears to us from the injuries that it was actually the tip of the scissors against the top and the front of the skull, as if she was trying to pry the baby out.

But we first learned about the case when three days earlier, we were dispatched from our patrol division to the emergency room, where there was a 14-year-old child there brought by her mother. And her -- the mother said that she didn`t know her child was pregnant, if you can believe that, because the baby was -- the child was only 100 pounds.

But she showed up after finding blood in the bathroom. The emergency room physician examined her and said, yes, there`s evidence of a miscarriage, and that`s what the child told her mother, that she miscarried and flushed the fetus down the toilet. Well, she -- they attend to the 14- year-old, and she goes home.

Three days later, mom`s doing the laundry. She keeps an impeccable house, I`m told. And she goes into her daughter`s bedroom and finds that she smells a strange odor. Then she goes into this little chest -- it`s described as a footstool kind of chest -- opens it up, and she sees a shoebox. She opens the shoebox, and there is a lot of dirty clothes. And she takes the shoebox and the clothes out to the kitchen area, the laundry area, thinking, Well, what in the world is my child doing putting all these dirty clothes in her footlocker?

Once she gets out to the kitchen area, she opens the box, starts taking the clothes out, and discovers a full-term baby. The baby turns out being 20.5 inches long and weighing 9.5 pounds, a full-term baby. And that`s when we were immediately called, as you referenced to your 911 tapes there.

Deputies, EMS arrive, and we find that this child`s been dead for three days.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My niece had a miscarriage and it was at the hospital on Wednesday. They took all the information down. My sister called me from in my home and she said they found the baby. I don`t know where the baby has been located at, if it`s in the home in the bathroom or whatever.

911 OPERATOR: What is the address of the home?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t -- I wanted to talk to y`all before I get there because I know my sister is really upset.

911 OPERATOR: What is her telephone number?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, I don`t -- I don`t -- (INAUDIBLE) It has, like, a red flag, you know, flags hanging from your window, and there`s Georgia stickers all over. There was a game today and (INAUDIBLE) so anyway, I`m fixing -- I`m turning on (DELETED) out front.

911 OPERATOR: OK. And she said that she found the baby? (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Mother, sister are there. They called me and told me to get right over there, they found the baby.

911 OPERATOR: Did she (INAUDIBLE) was breathing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don`t know how to handle things like I do.

911 OPERATOR: OK, but did they (INAUDIBLE) the baby was breathing or...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, it was a fetus. My niece apparently had a miscarriage the other day and...

911 OPERATOR: So are you wanting your niece checked out? I`m not...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No! There`s a fetus. There`s a 5-month-old -- 5-month -- when a lady is pregnant, they are 5 months -- the baby is here and we don`t know what to do with it.

911 OPERATOR: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t know how it got here or where they found it or how it...

(END AUDIO CLIP)

GRACE: A mom is cleaning up after her 14-year-old little girl when she finds the unthinkable, a tiny body, a 9.5-pound full-term baby boy hidden in a cardboard shoebox, wrapped in filthy, wet laundry. According to what we have learned, that baby boy was full-term, breathing, moving, crying, kicking when he was manually strangled with 32 contusions to the head, the face, the sternum.

We are taking your calls. Out to Marie in Tennessee. Hi, Marie. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I just wanted to give my opinion on this little girl. I don`t -- I feel for her doing that, but I think she did a horrendous crime that was uncalled for. The baby had a right to life. I`m sure anybody would have been willing to adopt that child if she didn`t want it. I wouldn`t even do something like that to a dog.

GRACE: You know, what you just said, Marie in Tennessee -- if this had been a kitten or a dog, a puppy, I think the response would be a lot different. When I first heard the story, Marie in Tennessee, I was actually on the little girl`s side, the 14-year-old girl.

But to you, Ellie Jostad, our chief editorial producer. The lengths that the girl went to, to hide the pregnancy, to lie about her condition, and then the condition of the baby`s body -- that baby was alive, breathing, kick, crying, 9.5-pound healthy baby boy. Ellie, take it from the top.

ELLIE JOSTAD, NANCY GRACE PRODUCER: Right, Nancy. Well, according to the probable cause affidavit, this girl said that she did -- or her aunts, rather, said that she concealed this pregnancy.

They started getting suspicious over the summer when she seemed to be gaining weight and only, you know, in her abdomen area. They also said she was wearing long coats, sweaters in the summer to attempt to cover this up. They suspected that she was pregnant.

The girl, Nancy, told police, according to this probable cause statement, that she saw the baby breathing, grabbed its neck and strangled the baby until she no longer felt a pulse.

GRACE: We are taking your calls to Elton in Indiana. Hi, Elton. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you doing, Nancy? And my prayers are with you and your family.

GRACE: Thank you. I really appreciate that. John David has been through a lot in the hospital. He`s home now, Elton. And thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re welcome, ma`am.

GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I`d like to know how the school didn`t know that she was pregnant. And what were the parents -- I mean, why wouldn`t they have went in the bathroom with her when she took that pregnancy test? I don`t understand that. She`s 14 years old.

GRACE: Keep Elton on the phone. Let`s go to special guest tonight, Sheriff Grady Judd from the Polk County sheriff`s office -- the sheriff. Sheriff, question. The school did not notice the child was pregnant? And was she attending classes regularly up until the time of the birth and the murder?

JUDD: Nancy, as you can imagine, she was on summer break when she would have been the largest, obviously. But in retrospect, some of the students said that they knew she was pregnant. In fact, she had talked to another student who had previously had a child about what`s it like to have a child.

We`ve been engrossed in the murder investigation, and we have arrested the child. She is in juvenile detention charged with capital first-degree murder at this time. And we`re working with the state attorney`s office on whether or not -- it`s their decision, obviously, whether she`s prosecuted as an adult. But we are just now getting into the background, now that the initial homicide investigation is over.

GRACE: Sheriff, what do you mean the background? What is the background investigation in a case like this?

JUDD: Well, we want to find out who`s the father. We have a pretty good idea that it`s another child. Certainly, there`s issue there because in the state of Florida, children can`t consent to have sex with each other under the age of 16.

We also want to know what occurred between the time of the discovery and the child actually being born. There are child neglect statutes, and we have to evaluate whether or not there`s any reason to suspect that the family members, i.e., the mother or stepfather, had any neglect issues going on.

Our concern is, Nancy, this is a -- this is a 14-year-old child that weighs 100 pounds at most, and she`s pregnant with a 9.5-pound baby and nobody notices?

Our heart breaks for this entire situation. At 14 years old, that child should not have been in that position. But ultimately, it`s obvious to us she didn`t intend to keep that baby around. So this case tugs on every one of our emotions, from we want to feel compassion for a 14-year- old child thrust into that position to the fact that she literally in cold blood murdered that child.

GRACE: You know, I agree with you, Sheriff. I agree with you 200 percent. The way it works is a child this age, 14 years old, the mother of this 9.5-pound baby boy -- he was full-term. He was kicking. He was screaming. He was a healthy baby boy when he was manually strangled and beaten 32 blows to the head, that we know of.

She`s 14. She is in juvenile, juvie jail, treated as a juvenile. And in a lot of jurisdictions, the maximum you can get is 18 months or even less. That`s the maximum in many jurisdictions now.

Unleash the lawyers. Brianne Deseliser (ph), Miami, John Manuelian, LA, Nishay Sonnen (ph) joining me from Chicago.

All right, Manuelian, here`s the deal. They may bind her over -- in other words, treat her as an adult. And here`s the kicker. If a boy, a 14-year-old boy had done this, he would absolutely be tried as an adult. The child, the baby, the infant was manually strangled and beaten to death. There was a long degree of premeditation. She faked two pregnancy tests. She lied to everyone regarding her pregnancy.

The thing is this. No matter how much we feel sorry for the little girl, as I did until I learned the condition of the baby`s body, if this were a boy, he`d be tried in adult court for murder one, Manuelian.

JOHN MANUELIAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You`re right, Nancy. And that`s going to be the key in this defense, to keep it in juvenile court because we both know that if it goes to adult court, she`s facing life in prison. And by staying in juvenile court, there is a cap. Every state has different caps. In California, it`s 25 years old. So that`s the defense should focusing on, keeping it in juvenile court.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And my niece has lost a little baby, and she told me she had a miscarriage.

I`m at the house now because the mother`s -- the mother`s so scared, and I guess they found the fetus.

So my sister called and said they found the baby. And I don`t know if it`s in the house or where they found it, but...

(END AUDIO CLIP)

GRACE: We are live and taking your calls. A mom cleaning up after her 14-year-old little girl finds the corpse of a tiny infant hidden in a cardboard shoebox.

Out to the lines. Colleen, Ohio. Hi, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I just wanted to voice my opinion on the situation.

GRACE: Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that this young lady, even though she is not an adult yet, she needs to be tried as one because you know, there are people out here who cannot have children. You know, she could have asked for help. She could have called for help. Somebody could have possibly taken that kid and took him to children`s services, anything to that resort (ph). But her killing it -- she knew that that...

GRACE: Well, you know, Colleen, here`s more to the story. We`re not showing you the child`s face because she`s a juvenile.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

GRACE: But if you could see her, she looks just like a young Ashley Judd. She`s beautiful. She`s smart. She had a very supportive family. In fact, they kept saying -- the mom called over her two sisters, and they kept saying, She could have come to us. She could have come to us. We would have taken care of her. She didn`t have to do this.

And the child concealing the pregnancy is one thing. But what happened afterward, after the baby`s birth, is truly disturbing. And it takes, I don`t know, an extremely sick mind to commit what happened after the baby`s birth.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: There`s a lot of speculation swirling about the facts surrounding this case, but one thing we do know. A full-term, healthy baby boy alive, crying, had his life ripped away from him as soon as he could actually cry out loud, take a breath in and cry out. He was manually strangled in a commode. Had 32 blows to the head, 32 bruises and lacerations to his head.

We are taking your calls. For those of you just joining us, out to Hugh Nolan, investigative reporter. What happened? What did police find? And what can you tell me about the cover-up?

HUGH NOLAN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, Nancy, I don`t know specifically about what I would be willing to term a cover-up. Certainly even before the birth of the child and even before this horrific murder, there had been quite a lot of controversy over this woman -- this young lady, this child trying to conceal the pregnancy. You`re talking about a 14-year-old who is barely over five-feet tall, barely 100 pounds. A 9.5 pound baby boy, those pregnancy tests --

GRACE: Well, stop, stop, stop, stop. You know what? Hugh, I appreciate that, I really do. Because all the ladies on our program tonight, all the ladies listening tonight, we were all 14 years old at one time, long, long ago. But why are you telling me that? Why don`t you tell me about the baby that weighed 9.5 pounds? The healthy baby?

NOLAN: Because we`re speaking of a cover-up. Now the only -- the only individual who can be said clearly to have covered her --

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: Well, you told me you didn`t know anything about a cover-up? You told me you didn`t know anything about that? I guess you don`t know about those two faked EPT pregnancy tests she took? Did you not know about those?

NOLAN: A cover-up of the pregnancy. I was getting to you that, Nancy, by speaking about the controversy in the family over whether or not the 14-year-old was pregnant in the first place. Those pregnancy tests were taken because there were family members who did believe that the child was pregnant.

Again, this is a very petite child wearing very heavy clothing in the middle of a very hot summer here in Florida, denying that she is pregnant. The tests were taken outside the presence of all adults. The tests were presented to the mother as being negative. That was not accepted by anyone else in the family. Clearly there were neighbors, there were children at school, who also knew about the pregnancy.

The cover-up appears to have been aided and abetted if you will by an incredible case of denial on the part of this girl`s mother.

MORGAN: Everyone, we are taking your calls. Unleash the lawyers. Brianne Desellier, John Manuelian, and Nishay Sanan, joining me out of Chicago.

The reality is that throughout all of this time, she hid the pregnancy, you claimed the family was in denial. But under our system of jurisprudence, the family is not responsible for the murder. The bottom line is she allegedly strangled the baby boy to death while he`s still attached to her body through the umbilical cord.

Brianne, weigh in. Still attached to her body. He`s still attached to the umbilical cord when she strangles the baby boy to death, who is alive, who`s trying to scream, who`s trying to breathe, and then beats him in the head until he`s dead, Brianne.

BRIANNE DESELLIER, ATTORNEY: Yes. Hey, first of all, the fact that we are dealing with a 14-year-old defendant, it does make her somewhat of a sympathetic defendant. But we absolutely cannot let our compassion for the defendant affect our application of the law to the facts.

And when you do look at the facts, what we have is a defendant who is clearly capable of forming the requisite level of criminal intent and who, in my opinion, clearly formed the requisite level of criminal intent. I think on any one of the four alternative theories of criminal intent we can establish that.

Most significantly, she has described to police how she delivered this baby into a toilet using a pair of household scissors, then proceeded to feel for a pulse and upon feeling this pulse, she proceed to constrict the baby`s air flow until it basically stopped breathing.

To me, that demonstrates an unambiguous intent to kill or, at a minimum, an intent to seriously injure. And even if --

GRACE: OK, what about that, Nishay?

NISHAY SANAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I think you`re wrong. How can -- first of all, how can a 14-year-old get the reckless intent to do anything? She was 14 years old at the time she gave birth. She --

GRACE: OK. Just stop right there.

SANAN: We don`t know what her mental --

GRACE: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on, Sanan. Let`s don`t mislead the viewers because I`m sure -- I mean you practice there in Chicago. I`m sure you`ve heard of juvenile hall, and I`m sure that you must have, if you are truly a trial lawyer and a criminal defense lawyer, you must have handled juvenile boys charged with murder.

I tried one -- I tried a 13-year-old boy with murder. I didn`t want to, but that is what the law demanded of me. So what do you mean she can`t be charged with murder?

(CROSSTALK)

SANAN: Nancy, there`s juvenile hall everywhere but --

GRACE: That`s absolutely not true.

SANAN: Well, first there`s an issue of whether she`s going to be tried as an adult on this murder or is she going to be tried in juvenile hall.

GRACE: I didn`t ask you that.

SANAN: I don`t disagree. Well, but there`s two different theories. You have capital murder as an adult. You have murder charges as a juvenile.

GRACE: Well, she`s not going to be charged in a death penalty case --

SANAN: There`s no doubt there`s juvenile charges.

GRACE: Right there, that`s misleading.

SANAN: Well, the way you`re making it sound --

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: Because as I say --

SANAN: Well, the way you`re making it sound like she should be, though. You want her -- it seems like you want her charged with death penalty case.

(CROSSTALK)

GRACE: What I just said -- OK, cut his mike. Under the law, any trial lawyer that practices is familiar with the recent Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, talking about the Supreme Court in Washington, Nishay, that ruled that 18 and under cannot face the death penalty in this country. Therefore, this is not going to be a death penalty case under any circumstances.

What I`m saying is the issue is going to be, will she be tried as an adult and the degree of premeditation.

I`m going to go back to Sheriff Grady Judd. All right.

Nishay, take a listen to what he is saying.

Sheriff, right now, I`m trying to think of how everyone is trying to blame the family, saying they were in denial. They were just thinking the best or what they wanted to think of the girl. That`s a moral decision.

What I`m talking about is the crime, Sheriff, the crime here. What do you perceive? I mean she let the baby`s corpse lay there for, what, three days rotting in her bedroom in a paper -- in a cardboard box?

SHERIFF GRADY JUDD, INVESTIGATING TEEN GIRL FOR ALLEGEDLY KILLING BABY: Nancy, not only that, when she had this baby into the toilet, she took it out of the toilet, and as she held it, she checked for a pulse. She found a viable pulse and she immediately choked the baby, she said, for about one minute. And then she checked the pulse again. And when there was no further pulse, then she cut the umbilical cord, got into the shower, she washed off. She washed the baby off. That`s -- that has horrified all of us that anyone could do that.

GRACE: Sheriff? Sheriff, my little girl was born at two pounds, my boy was five pounds. And I remember just on my knees in the NICU praying, praying that they would live just one more day so they`d have a better chance to live. Just one more day.

And to -- I`m trying to imagine the frame of mind it would take to take one of them and strangle them for a full minute until they were dead. I mean, this is a hot potato, nobody wants to handle the case because you feel sorry for the 14-year-old. Yet if these facts are true, she committed murder on the most defenseless, a brand new baby.

JUDD: Well, it breaks our heart, the entire investigation does, because she was very stoic, she was very up-front. She totally confessed to what she did. But then I look at her, and, you know, I still see a 14- year-old child, and the emotions are so strong here that, how could a child do this? But then you see that there appeared to be a very articulate plan in place not to keep the child.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: Back in 90 seconds. But we remember, Army Staff Sergeant Daniel Merryweather, 25, Collierville, Tennessee. Bronze Star, Purple Heart, served Iraq and Afghanistan. Loved country music, bull riding, motorcycles, and jalapeno beef jerky. Parents, Darrell, Pamela, sisters Adrienne, Alicia, brothers, Alan, Brandon, and Darrell Jr.

Daniel Merryweather, American hero.

Back in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess my sister has this baby in (INAUDIBLE). This is --

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Gave birth?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I found it. Yes, get somebody here quick. Please. Please. Please. Get somebody here quick. It`s a full -- please.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: We`re on the way. We`re on the way. Stop. Listen. We`re on the way. Just get away from it fro right now, OK? Ma`am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK. Just keep everyone out of the room where the fetus is. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: I know it`s hard but we have help on the way, OK? Just stay on the line, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: We are taking your calls. A tiny, newborn boy, full term, 9.5 pounds strangled manually to death. Blows to the head, 32 lacerations, blows, scratches. The perpetrator, his 14-year-old mother.

Now what do we do? Now there is talk swirling that there is consideration of charging the adults that knew or allegedly knew about the pregnancy and kept it a secret.

We are taking your calls. Straight out to Sophia, Delaware. Hi, Sophia, what`s your question?

SOPHIA, CALLER FROM DELAWARE: Hi. My question is, how can you charge the adults that knew about the pregnancy when they weren`t the ones who killed the baby?

GRACE: That`s a good question. To Sheriff Grady Judd, I mean, under our jurisprudence system, there is no duty to volunteer. There is no duty to rescue someone. However, a parent is charged with the duty of welfare to their child, Sheriff. So I see where they`re going.

What do you think?

JUDD: Nancy, you answered the question that it`s not whether or not the parents would be considered for a murder charge. But in the state of Florida, they were charges that deal with child neglect, not providing the appropriate care. We`re not sure that the parents will fit in that box. That is only under investigation.

And certainly in order to do a complete and thorough investigation, you have to investigate to determine that there is legal culpability, or we have just as much of an obligation to investigate to show that there was not legal culpability. And we`ll be doing that for not only the parents.

GRACE: OK.

JUDD: But also for the father of the child, as well, which also seems to be another child at this point in the investigation. But there`s still a lot of work to do.

GRACE: To Dr. Michelle Dupre, medical examiner, forensic pathologist, joining me out of Columbia. Can you look at a fetus or at a mother and determine physically whether there was a miscarriage or a live birth?

DR. MICHELLE DUPRE, M.D., MEDICAL EXAMINER AND FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes, Nancy, that`s actually a very good question. And we can certainly look at a fetus or a stillborn or an infant at autopsy and tell whether they have taken a breath or not. And one of the things that we look for, of course, are the lungs inflated.

Looking at the mother, we can tell if she has given birth, we can also look to see if there is any injury or trauma. It is a lot harder to tell if the baby, of course, was born alive or was stillborn just by looking at the mother.

GRACE: We are taking your calls. I want to go to Dr. Patricia Saunders, clinical psychologist, joining me out of New York.

You know, when I first read the story, I immediately sympathized with the girl, the 14-year-old girl. But when I heard the degree of violence on the child, the baby, and I`m hearing that she actually checked the pulse of the child and hid the corpse in her room for three days, when I heard about the 32 blows or lacerations to the child`s head, everything changed in my mind.

PATRICIA SAUNDERS, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I`m with you, Nancy. I don`t feel sorry for this kid, and I didn`t from the beginning reading the story. Everything in her behavior shows malicious intent and malignant behavior.

Digging a baby out of her with the scissors, treating it like it`s not just an object but some kind of tumor that she needed to get rid of. The beatings, the strangulation --

GRACE: Digging the baby out of her vagina with a pair of scissors.

Dr. Patricia Saunders, I remember looking at my twins, fighting for their lives in the intensive care unit, NICU, what state of mind would it take to then take that tiny child, strangle it to death, checking for its pulse? You wouldn`t even do that to a kitten.

SAUNDERS: Well, it`s a good thing that you can`t empathize to that state of mind because it`s close to being a psychopath. This is beyond rage. This is careful and deliberate checking. This isn`t just indifference.

GRACE: To Rachel Kent, joining us. What`s happening on social media, Rachel?

RACHEL KENT, NANCY GRACE SOCIAL MEDIA PRODUCER: A lot of your Twitter followers are expressing a lot of sympathy for this girl. Comments such as she`s just a kid, go easy on her, something`s wrong with her, she needs treatment. Other comments on Facebook such as it`s not right that she killed the baby, but what if the poor girl was raped and maybe she carried the baby --

GRACE: There is no evidence the girl was raped.

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GRACE: Three days after a baby is born, there`s usually a nursery full of baby things, pink or blue, and everyone`s excited and happy. But three days after this baby boy was born, there was nothing but a foul odor coming from the 14-year-old mother`s room where the corpse was hidden in a cardboard box, wrapped in filthy laundry.

To Detective Lieutenant Steven Rogers, former member, FBI Joint Terrorism Task. Steve, weigh in.

DET. LT. STEVE ROGERS, NUTLEY, NEW JERSEY, POLICE DEPARTMENT: Nancy, if we were talking about a 14-year-old gunning someone down, another child down, we wouldn`t talk about sympathy. You nailed it in the beginning of your show. Premeditated. Vicious brutal homicide. And that`s the way this should go. As far as sympathy is concerned, not going to get here.

GRACE: You know, back to Sheriff Grady Judd who is a joining me from Lakeland tonight.

Sheriff, if this were a boy, it would have been treated -- everyone would be reacting completely differently, you know that right, Sheriff?

JUDD: You know the interest here is because it`s a 14-year-old girl. And you`re exactly right. We are treating it like it is. It was a premeditated first-degree murder according to our investigation. But there`s this holistic look. We will work closely with the state attorney`s office because whether it`s a boy or a girl, that doesn`t change the status of the law.

And in the state of Florida we look at, can the juvenile system adequately deal with the level of crime? And many times that`s the determining factor. And quite frankly in this particular case, I don`t think they can. Because they can`t keep jurisdiction of the child long enough.

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GRACE: We are taking your calls. A 14-year-old now charged with the murder of her healthy baby boy. I`m looking online. She likes Sweet Life, Empires, and Ally`s Farmville. She also likes the movie "Bennie and June," "Letters to Juliet," Spongebob Squarepants, Lady Gaga, Katie Perry.

Will she be treated as an adult and face life behind bars?

Back to David Lohr, senior crime reporter, "Huffington Post."

David, right now focus also on her family. Did they aid and abet in keeping her pregnancy secret? I don`t see how they could be charged now that the baby boy has been murdered.

DAVID LOHR, SENIOR CRIME REPORTER, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Well, Nancy, I don`t see for one how they couldn`t have known she was pregnant. And, you know, the thing that really strikes me is the fact if you look at the statement she allegedly made to police, she didn`t want the relationship with her parents to change.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Amanda in, I believe, Tennessee. Hi, Amanda. Indiana. What`s your question, dear?

AMANDA, CALLER INDIANA: I have a question. Regardless of how she did it or what she did it, anybody that picks up a newborn child, and I am a mother myself, that can feel a pulse and notice that child`s heart is beating, how could they maliciously take that innocent child`s life? When you can drop it off at a hospital or a fire department with no questions asked.

GRACE: Absolutely. And in that jurisdiction of Florida there is Safe Haven.

We`ll continue bringing you the updates on the investigation. But right now "DR. DREW." I`ll see you tomorrow night 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.

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