Mom accused of tossing newborn in dumpster held without bond
A Brazilian woman was ordered to be held without bond Friday after she told Florida detectives she delivered a baby girl, and then put the newborn in a plastic bag and tossed her into a dumpster.
Palm Beach County sheriff’s detectives arrested Rafaelle Alessandra Carbalho Sousa, 35, late Thursday on attempted murder and child abuse charges.
Earlier this week, the 6-pound, 8-ounce baby was found alive and taken to a local hospital. She is in custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Sousa appeared Friday before Judge Ted Booras of the 15th Judicial Circuit, who ordered her not to have contact with the baby. A Portuguese interpreter translated Booras’ orders.
Detectives were led to Sousa after they discovered a receipt from a beauty supply store, and a bundle of napkins with a large amount of blood in the same dumpster and in a garbage bag like the one where the baby was found. The store gave the detectives the customer’s information, leading them to the mother’s address in Boca Raton.
Through a Portuguese translator, Sousa told detectives that she tried to get the baby to respond, waiting three hours for her to breathe. A report says she said she went back to the dumpster two times to make sure the baby was dead, but she never approached the bag because there were other people nearby.
A man interviewed at the residence where detectives served the warrant told them he “had no idea” Sousa was pregnant. The report says Sousa is a married nail technician who was born in Brazil.
Immigration officials said on Friday that Sousa is in the country illegally. Bryan Cox, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an emailed statement they have issued a detainer to take her into custody and deport her once her criminal case is resolved.
Two maintenance workers heard the baby crying and found her in the dumpster Wednesday, the arrest report says. It’s not clear how long the baby had been there or when she was delivered.
Under Florida law, newborns can be dropped off anonymously at a hospital or fire station with no questions asked.
The public defender’s office is representing Sousa, but an attorney had yet to be assigned to the case.