Charges Dismissed Against Mesa Woman Accused of Putting Fetus in Backpack

A 22-year-old Mesa woman accused of leaving a fetus in a backpack had criminal charges against her dismissed today in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Back in March, police at the Gila River Indian Community found a backpack under a tree while on a routine patrol about five miles southeast of Sacaton.

Inside the bag, there was an infant baby boy -- dead, and wrapped in vinyl sheets. The umbilical cord was still attached.

Police traced the baby back to Faith Hope Cadd, who was arrested in April.

Authorities believed that Cadd had given birth to the baby, then wrapped it in the sheets, stuffed it in the backpack, and left it outside.

At the time the baby was born, police believe the it may have already been dead, which may be the reason the charges were dropped.

There was a similar case earlier this year, where a Tucson woman gave birth to a baby, put it in a bucket, and buried it in her backyard.

She was sentenced to three years' probation but won an appeal when a judge ruled that fetal remains are not the same as a dead human body.

Judge Garye L. Vásquez wrote in the court's official opinion: "We recognize fetal remains are indisputably of human origin and not alive. Therefore, the Legislature's use of the terms 'dead human body' and 'dead human remains' arguably supports the intuitive conclusion that the statute encompasses fetuses. However, such an interpretation could lead to absurd and potentially unconstitutional results."

Absurd results like stuffing a baby in a bag and leaving it outside under a tree, maybe?

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James King
Contact: James King