MILWAUKEE — A woman who faked a pregnancy and panicked as her supposed due date grew near attacked a pregnant mother with a baseball bat and cut her full-term fetus from her womb with an X-Acto knife, killing the mother and baby, according to court documents filed Monday.
Annette Morales-Rodriguez, 33, faces one count each of first-degree intentional homicide while armed and first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child while armed in the death of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz and the boy she was set to deliver next week.
Morales-Rodriguez made a brief court appearance Monday, standing silent as her bail was set at $1 million.
"I don't know what she had in her mind," said Maria Garcia, 44, who lives next to Morales-Rodriguez and said she was her best friend.
According to the criminal complaint, Morales-Rodriguez told detectives that her boyfriend wanted a son but she couldn't get pregnant. She told him she was pregnant anyway, then started to grow desperate as what would be her due date approached.
She told investigators she planned for two weeks to find a pregnant woman, take the baby and make it hers, the complaint said. It said on Thursday she drove around a nonprofit organization that provides Hispanics with health care and found Ramirez-Cruz, 23, offered her a ride, and drove to the home of Morales-Rodriguez, where the attack occurred.
Ramirez-Cruz had moved from Puerto Rico to join her childhood sweetheart, Christian Mercado, said Mercado's father, Carlos Mercado. They already had three children together and Ramirez-Cruz was carrying their fourth.
Similar cases of women taking an unborn child from a mother's womb were reported in Massachusetts and Oregon in 2009, in Pennsylvania in 2007, in Illinois in 2006 and Missouri in 2004.