A Reading woman was charged after giving birth in the bathroom of a Warwick Township group home where she worked and then leaving the baby partially submerged in the toilet for 10 to 15 minutes, the Lancaster County District Attorney said.
Emmanuella Osei, 23, faces a felony count of endangering the welfare of a child for neglecting the newborn baby after it was born. The district attorney said the charge is a second-degree felony because of the victim’s age.
The incident happened Monday night at a group home in the 800 block of Parkside Lane, just outside Lititz, authorities said.
Northern Lancaster Country Regional Police responded to the home around 10:30 p.m. after a report of an “unknown person down.” Responding officers found Osei on the toilet, and then discovered the baby in the water underneath her, according to a criminal complaint filed in the case.
After the baby was born as she sat on the toilet, Osei told police she was “afraid to touch it” and “didn’t know how to help it,” according to the criminal complaint.
Officers revived the baby boy, which wasn’t breathing and was blue and cold when they discovered him, the criminal complaint said.
Osei and the newborn were both transported Monday night to a hospital, where Osei was arrested early Wednesday afternoon. She was arraigned by District Judge Edward Tobin and committed to Lancaster County Prison after being denied bail.
The baby was in stable but critical condition Wednesday, the district attorney said.
During their investigation, police said they learned Osei had come to the United States from Ghana in May 2018 and had been hiding her pregnancy because she didn’t want to disappoint her family and friends, according to the criminal complaint.
Osei told police she only discovered she was pregnant after a Jan. 4 visit to Reading Hospital, where she went against a doctor’s orders and left the hospital after they tried to admit her.
However, police said Osei’s records indicate she was told about the pregnancy after going to a clinic in Ghana just before she came to the United States, the criminal complaint said.
Osei had not told her work supervisor about the pregnancy but called her Monday night to report that she was “feeling pains,” according to the criminal complaint. The supervisor then called 9-1-1.
“We still have a lot to investigate. This case is far from over,” District Attorney Craig Stedman said. “We will follow the facts and the law and, if warranted, file additional charges at the appropriate time.”