NEW BEDFORD — A woman who allegedly hid the lifeless body of her newborn baby under a staircase outside the New Bedford apartment where she briefly lived told police that the “voices in her head” urged her to keep quiet about the pregnancy, a prosecutor said Monday.
Assistant District Attorney Maryclare Flynn made the statement during the arraignment of Tamlyn Gonzalez, 22, who pleaded not guilty in New Bedford District Court to a charge of witness intimidation in connection with the April discovery of her daughter’s remains.
Gonzalez is being charged with intimidation under the obstruction of justice portion of the statute, under accusations of lying to police who investigated the discovery of the baby’s body under a back staircase at 1065 County St.
Gonzalez at the time was sharing a second-floor apartment in the building with her mother and sister.
Flynn said Monday that first-floor tenants discovered the lifeless body wrapped in a blue sweatshirt on the evening of April 11, and that Gonzalez initially gave police a false name and denied the newborn was her baby.
“She expressed outrage and disgust that someone could do that to a newborn child,” Flynn said of Gonzalez’s comments at the time.
But after investigators received a tip that a pregnant woman, later identified as Gonzalez, moved into the apartment from New Jersey in December or January, she allegedly changed her story and admitted to being pregnant and placing her daughter under the staircase shortly after midnight on April 11.
Flynn said that Gonzalez initially told police that she had the child at a friend’s house in New Jersey and brought her back to New Bedford in a travel bag. She later allegedly told police that she had the child at a friend’s home in New Bedford before giving them her final account on May 13.
During that interview, Gonzalez allegedly said she had delivered the child by herself in the bathtub of her County Street apartment while her mother and sister were out. She told police that the baby’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and she was unable to breathe.
Gonzalez said that the child was born about two weeks before she was found and that she had kept her hidden in the apartment because she had grown attached and thought that she might come back to life, Flynn said Monday.
In addition, Gonzalez informed investigators that “the voices in her head” told her not to disclose the pregnancy to anyone, and authorities do not believe her mother and sister knew she was carrying a child, prosecutors said.
Officials have determined the child was Gonzalez’s based on DNA testing, Flynn said. The baby’s father was not identified Monday.
Gonzalez’s mother told police April 17 that her daughter was no longer welcome in the apartment, and her mother gave investigators a large box that Gonzalez kept her clothes in and that had contained a strong odor, Flynn said.
Judge Gregory Williams released Gonzalez without bail Monday, under the conditions that she not leave the state, check in weekly with probation, and continue mental health counseling and treatment that officials said she is receiving at an area facility. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the charge, prosecutors said.
Gonzalez’s court-appointed lawyer, Stephen P. Dalrymple, said that she “fully intends to continue her treatment.”
Prosecutors recommended the bail arrangement as one option, and Gregg Miliote, a spokesman for the Bristol district attorney’s office, defended that decision outside court, noting that there was concern for her mental health.
Miliote declined to say whether anyone will be charged with more serious offenses concerning the baby’s death, since an autopsy has not been completed.
Gonzalez declined to comment when she left court unaccompanied Monday. Her next hearing in the case is slated for July 10.