IN THE BIN...

Mum threw her baby

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When Jessica Mae Betts sud­denly gained more than 2st in weight and started hid­ing un­der baggy clothes, friends and fam­ily sus­pected that she was preg­nant.

Her own mum Lil­lie Mae Betts bought teenager Jessica a preg­nancy test.

And, even though Jessica re­fused to do the test, Lil­lie was cer­tain she was about to be­come a grand­mother.

She was so con­vinced that she even went out and bought some cute lit­tle out­fits for her grand­child.

But they were clothes in which Jessica’s baby would never be dressed.

One night in Novem­ber 2008, Jessica, then 19, started get­ting con­trac­tions.

That’s usu­ally the point most mums-to-be head to hos­pi­tal.

But Jessica was de­ter­mined to keep her preg­nancy as much of a se­cret as she could.

So in­stead, she locked her­self away in the bath­room of her boyfriend’s home, which he shared with his par­ents.

Alone and in agony, she fi­nally de­liv­ered a baby girl weigh­ing 8lb 1oz.

The baby came out head first, and Jessica watched as the lit­tle girl whim­pered and waved her arms.

Shortly af­ter, she de­liv­ered the pla­centa. Af­ter cut­ting the um­bil­i­cal cord, Jessica flushed the af­ter­birth down the toi­let.

Then she got in the car with the baby and drove to a nearby Save Mart supermarket in Tur­lock, Cal­i­for­nia.

For a while, she sat on the back seat hold­ing and star­ing at her new­born daugh­ter.

But the moth­erly cud­dles didn’t last long.

Af­ter wrap­ping her child in a car­rier bag, Jessica got out of the car, walked to the near­est bin and dumped her new­born baby in­side.

She then drove back to her boyfriend’s house and pre­tended noth­ing had hap­pened.

When she got into bed with her boyfriend, he asked why there was blood in the bath­room.

He had no idea Jessica was preg­nant, so she lied and said she’d just had a heavy pe­riod. Jessica hoped that was the end of the story – that she could move on and for­get about the baby she’d dis­carded.

But the tiny life­less body of her baby was found shortly af­ter, and a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion was launched.

Lo­cal me­dia picked up the story – and, as she read about the case, Lil­lie won­dered... Could it be Jessica’s baby? The more Lil­lie thought about it, the more it seemed that this was likely.

So she went to the lo­cal po­lice sta­tion and told a de­tec­tive of her sus­pi­cion.

The fol­low­ing day, of­fi­cers went to speak to Jessica.

The young woman vol­un­teered to go with them for ques­tion­ing and, ini­tially, ap­peared bub­bly and happy.

But, over the course of a five-hour in­ter­view, her mood changed dras­ti­cally.

As she lay on a couch in the po­lice in­ter­view room, she started to hy­per­ven­ti­late.

Fi­nally, af­ter two hours of care­ful ques­tion­ing, she ad­mit­ted she was the mother of the baby found in the bin.

Ac­cord­ing to Jessica, her baby was born alive. She claimed she held her and cried as she watched the baby’s breath­ing slow and even­tu­ally stop.

She said she’d kissed her child on the head, told her, ‘I love you.’

When de­tec­tives quizzed Jessica on how her baby ended up in the bin, she claimed she

Alone and in agony, she fi­nally de­liv­ered a girl, 8lb 1oz

didn’t know. But her fin­ger­prints matched those found on the car­rier bag in which the new­born was wrapped.

Later, DNA from the baby was found to match that of Jessica’s, prov­ing be­yond doubt the child was hers.

Jessica Mae Betts was charged with first-de­gree mur­der.

A med­i­cal ex­pert who ex­am­ined the baby’s re­mains said it was most likely she’d been born alive, but it wasn’t pos­si­ble to prove this.

Based on this ev­i­dence, the charge against Jessica was re­duced to felony child abuse that re­sulted in the death of her child.

In­stead of go­ing through a trial, Jessica opted for a plea of no con­test – an agree­ment in a crim­i­nal case be­tween the pros­e­cu­tor and de­fen­dant, where the de­fen­dant agrees to plead guilty to a charge in re­turn for some con­ces­sion from the pros­e­cu­tor.

Jessica ad­mit­ted her guilt, and ac­cepted an eight-year prison sen­tence.

‘The case was a tragedy for all con­cerned,’ the pros­e­cu­tor said. ‘I think we struck a fair and just re­sult.’

Jessica’s mum Lil­lie, who’d tipped off the po­lice, cried in court as she asked for her daugh­ter’s for­give­ness...

‘I didn’t want to hurt her in any way,’ she said.

‘I hope that Jessica will some day for­give me, but I know in my heart that I tried to raise her the best that I could.’

Jessica, 20, re­mained emo­tion­less for most of the hear­ing, ex­cept for when her mother spoke – when she be­gan to sob qui­etly be­fore be­ing led away.

DNA proved be­yond doubt that the child was hers

no emo­tion

Grandma Lil­lie re­mem­bers the baby they named Maria Mae

Fam­ily grief Lil­lie and daugh­ter Cyn­thia at the baby’s grave JESSICA MAE BETTS

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