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Allentown woman charged with death of baby

Published June 19. 2019 11:40AM

District Attorney Jim Martin announced that an Allentown woman has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of an infant.

Ashley Caraballo, 30, has been charged with one count each of criminal homicide, concealing death of a child, and abuse of corpse.

There is no bail when charged with criminal homicide, so she will be incarcerated in Lehigh County Jail to await further proceedings.

According to court records, on Oct. 20, 2017, Caraballo was taken to St. Luke’s Allentown Campus, by her partner, Paul Wilson. At that time, Caraballo and Wilson lived in North Whitehall Township with their five children.

Caraballo went to the hospital with heavy vaginal bleeding. During surgery, Dr. Jami Avellini, a board certified OB/GYN, removed a large portion of placental tissue from the defendant’s uterus. In addition to the placental tissue, what appeared to be an uncut portion of an umbilical cord was also removed. The cord was attached to the placental tissue.

Avellini reported finding injuries to the defendant’s cervix. The injuries to the cervix, in conjunction with injuries to the umbilical cord, were consistent with damage, that would occur where a baby was “ripped out” when the cervix was not fully dilated.

As a result of the surgery, it was determined that the defendant had given birth recently. Dr. Avellini indicated that the birth could have occurred in a timespan of a few hours up to two to three days before the surgical procedure. The defendant denied that she had been pregnant or that she had given birth within the past year.

In the course of the investigation, members of the state police searched the North Whitehall residence on Oct. 25, 2017. During that search, a deceased male baby was found wrapped in a sheet inside a backpack. The backpack was discovered in a 5-gallon paint can that was located in a storage area of the basement of the residence.

Investigators said nothing in the investigation has shown that Wilson was involved in any of the alleged crimes with which the defendant is charged, and he is not charged.

An autopsy was performed on the infant by Dr. Samuel Land, a forensic pathologist. Land determined that the baby was a full-term male. Land was unable to determine the cause of death, and it was ruled “undetermined.”

Dr. David Fowler, chief medical examiner for the County of Baltimore, Maryland, determined the baby was likely born alive and that the cause of death was one of or a combination of asphyxia, blood loss, and/or hypothermia.

Dr. Isidore Mihalakis, a forensic pathologist, also determined baby was born alive and that the manner of death is homicide.

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