A woman who allegedly put her newborn baby into a plastic bag and then placed the infant in a trash can in Lower Mills last week appeared in a Dorchester courtroom Monday to face charges of attempted murder and child abandonment.
Marie F. Merisier, 33, was held on a $100,000 cash bail at her arraignment in Dorchester Municipal Court, where a not guilty plea was entered on her behalf. She allegedly abandoned her child Friday afternoon, authorities said.
Prosecutors said Monday during her arraignment that Merisier arrived visibly pregnant on Friday at the home of a 73-year-old man she knew and went to the bathroom for an hour. The man described hearing noises and, at some point, a baby crying. When Merisier exited the bathroom, she was carrying a brown leather bag and the man said he heard crying coming from inside the bag, prosecutors said.
Merisier allegedly declined the man’s offer to call an ambulance.
Later around 1:15 p.m., a woman heard a baby crying from inside a trash barrel near 2250 Dorchester Ave., approximately 200 feet down the road from the man’s house, prosecutors said. She flagged down Boston EMS personnel parked nearby, and the paramedics found a newborn baby boy inside two knotted plastic grocery bags, according to authorities.
Video surveillance footage allegedly shows Merisier putting a plastic bag into the trash barrel, prosecutors said.
Merisier, officials said, initially denied leaving the bags in the trash when questioned but then admitted to doing so and said she thought the baby was dead, according to prosecutors, who also described her as having mental health issues.
Merisier’s attorney, argued during the brief hearing that she poses no public safety threat based on the allegations and lost her job at a restaurant that was forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If Merisier posts bail, she’ll be confined to her home on GPS monitoring and ordered to stay away from the alleged victim and witnesses, records show. Her next court appearance is set for March 29.
A spokeswoman for the state Department of Children and Families said Monday via email that “the child is in the custody of the Department. Due to state and federal privacy requirements, there is no further information.”
Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said the baby was safe and recovering while receiving loving care.
“I had the opportunity to briefly visit the baby on Saturday and was so happy to see nurses pampering, spoiling, and singing to, feeding and generally pouring love and affection into this beautiful child,” Rollins said in a statement Monday night.
Rollins stressed that under the 2004 Safe Haven Act of Massachusetts, a parent can legally surrender a baby at any hospital, police station, or staffed fire station within seven days of birth without facing criminal charges.
“This situation did not have to happen,” she said. “But we need to make sure that parents of newborns know they have options if they feel hopeless, depressed, an inability to bond, or are having thoughts of harm to themselves or the child. Nobody should ever suffer in silence, but no harm should ever come to any child either.”
John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Charlie McKenna can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @charliemckenna9. Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.