Fetus cut from woman's womb by Craigslist attacker

A woman is accused of using an online ad for baby clothes to lure a 7-month pregnant woman, and performing a cesarean section; the victim was left alone and called 911

By Ryan Parker
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — The Colorado woman suspected of assaulting a pregnant 26-year-old and cutting the unborn baby out of the victim's body made her first court appearance Thursday. Her bond was set at $2 million, said Catherine Olguin, spokeswoman for the Boulder County district attorney’s office.

Dynel Lane, 34, was arrested Wednesday in Longmont, a Denver suburb, on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and child abuse knowingly and recklessly resulting in death, according to authorities.

Additional charges may be added when the district attorney formally files.

“We’re looking at all appropriate charges and all appropriate suspects based on what the evidence turns out to be,” Boulder County Dist. Atty. Stan Garnett said at a news conference.

Garnett added that his office must determine whether a murder charge is appropriate because the baby did not survive.

“Under Colorado law, essentially, there’s no way murder charges can be brought if it’s not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother for some period of time,” Garnett said during the media conference. “I don’t know yet whether that can be established, what our facts are here.”

Lane is suspected of using a Craigslist ad for baby clothes to lure the victim, whose pregnancy was seven months along, to her home, said Cmdr. Jeff Satur, a Longmont Police Department spokesman. 

After the attack, the victim, left alone in the home’s basement, was able to call 911. She underwent surgery and “is alert, answering questions,” Satur said in a news release.

Lane was arrested at the same hospital where emergency responders had taken the victim. Lane brought in the baby and told staff she had suffered a miscarriage, Satur said.

Police released the more than six-minute 911 call the victim made from Lane's home.

“I’m bleeding out,” the victim can be heard saying in the recording, her speech slow and somewhat slurred.

The 911 operator repeatedly told the victim, whose voice often trailed off, not to fall asleep and to keep talking until help arrived.

“She cut me,” the victim said. “Please. I’m downstairs.” She told the operator that her attacker had used a knife as well as broken glass.

According to the criminal complaint published online by the Denver Post, an emergency room surgeon who examined the victim’s wound concluded: "The person who did the incision would have to have researched the subject of cesarean births in books or online to achieve the level of accuracy."

Lane was a Colorado certified nurse's aide from 2010 to 2012, the Post reported.

According to the complaint, Lane is married and has two teenage children. Lane showed her children a picture of an ultrasound in December and told them she was having a baby boy, the complaint said.

In 2002, Lane and her former husband lost their 19-month-old son in an accidental drowning in southern Colorado's Pueblo County, said Lane's ex-father-in-law, Aaron Cruz, the Associated Press reported.

Cruz said the couple was devastated by the child's death and said Lane seemed like a "fine parent," according to the AP. 

On Wednesday, Lane’s husband returned home to take his wife to the doctor for a prenatal checkup, according to the complaint. Lane, it said, told her husband that she had miscarried and that the baby was in the bathtub.

“He rubbed the baby slightly then rolled it over to hear and see it take a gasping breath,” according to the complaint.

Lane’s husband, believing she had miscarried, rushed her and the baby to the hospital, according to the complaint.

Once at the hospital, Lane would not allow doctors to examine her, according to the complaint.

The complaint said Lane admitted to a police detective that she had cut open the victim's abdomen to remove the baby.

Satur said Lane is the only suspect in the case.

Lane has been assigned a public defender, district attorney's spokeswoman Olguin said.

Her next court appearance is to be determined after the district attorney’s office files charges.


6:20 p.m.: This story has been updated with information about Lane losing her son in a drowning accident. 

This story was originally published at 6:05 p.m.


©2015 the Los Angeles Times

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