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US woman charged with murdering pregnant woman and stealing unborn baby

The alarm was raised after a woman contacted emergency services to say her newborn baby was not breathing, but authorities later discovered it was not her infant and had not been delivered naturally.

Annette Morales-Rodriguez, centre, at court in Milwaukee yesterday.
Annette Morales-Rodriguez, centre, at court in Milwaukee yesterday.
Image: AP Photo/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Gary Porter

A US WOMAN facing first-degree murder charges is accused of faking her own pregnancy for months before luring a pregnant woman into her home, beating her with a baseball bat and removing her unborn baby from her womb.

Maritza Ramirez-Cruz, 23, was a week away from her due date when she was killed on 6 October. Her full-term foetus was removed from her womb with a knife, killing both the mother and the infant.

According to court documents, Annette Morales-Rodriguez, 33, told investigators she had been having difficulty conceiving. She feigned pregnancy and became increasingly desperate for an infant as her own supposed due date approached.

The criminal complaint filed yesterday says she told investigators that she drove around Milwaukee’s streets last week in search of a pregnant woman and, upon spotting Ramirez-Cruz, offered her a lift. She then told Ramirez-Cruz that she needed to change her shoes and drove them both to her home, where the younger woman used the bathroom before being attacked.

Ramirez-Cruz was pregnant with what would have been her fourth child.

The emergency services were called to the scene by a woman claiming to have just given birth, but that the infant was not breathing.

An autopsy the following day showed that the infant was not delivered in a natural birth and police returned to the house to take Morales-Rodriguez to hospital, where it was discovered she had not given birth. Police later discovered the body in her basement.

Morales-Rodriguez has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child. She is due back in court on 19 October and her bail has been set at $1 million.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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