Thursday, August 22, 2013
DA: Tullytown woman knew she was pregnant before birth of stillborn son
Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Bendorovich, accompanied by her parents, made no comment following her arraignment before Bristol Township District Judge Robert Wagner Jr. on misdemeanor charges of concealing the death of a child and abuse of a corpse. She was released on $500,000 unsecured bail and faces a potential maximum of seven years in prison if convicted of both charges.
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email: jciavaglia@phillyBurbs.com; Twitter: @jociavaglia
A 38-year-old Tullytown woman who concealed the home birth of her stillborn son last week knew she was pregnant, contrary to what she told police three days after the child was born, according to the Bucks County district attorney.
Bucks County detectives and Tullytown police said they learned that Lorie Bendorovich knew of her pregnancy after they executed a search warrant at the Lakeside Drive home where she lives with her parents and two teenage sons, DA David Heckler said.
“It is evident she was aware at some juncture she was pregnant,” Heckler said.
An unidentified man believed to be the child’s father told a detective Saturday that he had sex with Bendorovich in late October, and that in mid-November Bendorovich told him she was pregnant, according to an affidavit of probable cause. The man is not the father of Bendorovich’s other children, Heckler said.
The man offered to raise the child with Bendorovich or by himself, and also offered to be a“surrogate” for the child, but a few days later Bendorovich told the man that she was no longer pregnant, according to the affidavit.
No evidence shows that Bendorovich either tried to self-abort or had prenatal care, Heckler said.
As a condition of her bail, Bendorovich must continue to live at her parents’ home, where police say Bendorovich gave birth on July 15, and she must contact a counseling service.
Heckler’s office did not file homicide charges after a preliminary autopsy Friday found the newborn showed no sign of air in his lungs after the birth. Coroner Dr. Joseph Campbell estimated the baby was born at 36 weeks; a normal full-term pregnancy is 38 weeks.
“The child never took a breath,” Heckler said, adding his office has ordered further pathological testing but it could be months before those results are available. A final medical finding will be made after those results are in.
Tullytown police were called to the Bendorovich home about 11 a.m. Thursday after a friend of Bendorovich’s niece called 911 to report a dead baby in a trash bag.
When police arrived, they were met by Bendorovich, who allowed them into the house and led them to her bedroom, where a police officer saw a black plastic bag on the floor near the bed, according to the probable cause affidavit.
A Bucks County detective who responded to the scene, touched the outside of the black plastic bag “and felt what appeared to be a small head, and fingers and toes,” according to the affidavit. The detective cut into the bag and smelled an odor he recognized as decomposition, and saw the infant’s head.
The woman allegedly claimed she did not know she was pregnant until she went into labor early July 15, according to documents.
After giving birth, she allegedly placed the newborn in a black plastic trash bag, where Bendorovich’s teenage son found the remains on Thursday morning, according to Heckler. The teen was investigating a strange smell and discovered the decomposing infant, he added.
In an interview with detectives, the woman admitted delivering the boy in her bedroom, then holding the baby’s head and tapping its feet but getting no response. She did not attempt any lifesaving measures, according to the affidavit.
She believed the baby was dead and placed him in the trash bag, according to police.
“Ms. Bendorovich stated she didn’t know she was pregnant or exhibit any signs of pregnancy throughout her pregnancy term,” according court documents. “She told no one of the birth and death of the child including family, friends, medical personnel or law enforcement.”