Dead baby found at McCaskey Student charged
BY JENNIFER TODD, Staff Writer
Police arrested a McCaskey East student Wednesday, a day after they say she gave birth in a school bathroom and then discarded the male infant in a trash can.
Cherlie Lefleur, 19, of the 300 block of North Marshall Street, is charged with concealing the death of a child.
She was arraigned Wednesday night by District Judge Joshua R. Keller and committed to Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $1 million bail.
Lefleur gave birth in a bathroom stall and tried to flush the baby down the toilet, according to Lancaster city police.
When that didn't work, she disposed of the body in a trash can.
An autopsy performed Wednesday morning showed the infant was born at 27 to 29 weeks, officials said.
Lancaster police Capt. Kent Switzer said authorities were still investigating whether the child was stillborn or born alive.
He declined to say if the body was wrapped in clothing or some other item.
The infant's body was discovered by a custodian around 10 p.m. Tuesday.
City police responded to the school at 1051 Lehigh Ave. and, after finding the body of the baby, notified officials with the coroner's and district attorney's offices.
Detectives on Wednesday conducted interviews and reviewed video footage, which led to the identification of Lafleur as the mother of the infant, police said.
Switzer said he did not believe the woman sought medical treatment after giving birth.
According to Diamantoni, an infant born at 27 to 29 weeks is "very premature but definitely viable."
"Even under the best circumstances, specialized and aggressive care would have been required," Diamantoni said. "But, yes, the baby could have survived. In fact, most babies born at this point would survive."
Kelly Burkholder, spokeswoman for SDL, said district officials didn't alert students about the incident Wednesday at the direction of police.
She said staff members met at the end of the day to discuss "only the very broad details of what we knew."
Burkholder said she didn't know if students on Wednesday were kept away from the bathroom or surrounding area.
She said that particular restroom is "not necessarily" in a remote area of the school.
Police said the concealment charge, which is a misdemeanor, can be lodged whether the child is born dead or alive.
Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said he can't recall the last time such a charge was filed locally.
Wednesday night, he called the case "utterly sickening," and said that by making no effort to get medical help for her child, Lafleur "guaranteed his fate."
He credited city police for a quick arrest and said his office will be in close communication with the coroner's office.
Lefleur, Stedman said, is charged with what the facts warrant "at this point."