TAMPA — Two years ago, an apartment maintenance worker reached in a Dumpster and tore open a garbage bag, hoping to learn the name of the person illegally dropping off trash.
The worker, Kenneth Crisp, ripped through four layers of plastic bags. Inside, he found the lifeless body of a baby girl swaddled in a blood-stained towel.
The circumstances of the child found May 9, 2006, remained a mystery for the Polk Sheriff's Office until this week, when investigators accused a Riverview woman of leaving the baby in the trash bin.
Kami Sargent, a 41-year-old pest control worker, faces charges of aggravated manslaughter, jail records show.
Sargent, who lives at 10418 Harvest Time Place, was arrested Thursday and remained at the Polk County Jail on Friday. No one returned a call to her phone.
The case of the baby, named May Angel, may have gone unsolved but for DNA technology, which allowed investigators to link Sargent to the child.
In November, Sargent pleaded guilty in Polk County to habitually driving without a valid license and received probation, records show. Her DNA information went into a state database.
On May 20, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement contacted Polk officials, saying Sargent's DNA matched that of the baby found in the trash bin.
Deputies questioned Sargent. Here's what she told them, according to an arrest report and Sheriff Grady Judd:
Sargent, who is divorced and works for Peninsular Pest Control, has four children, one of whom she gave up for adoption.
When she learned she was pregnant again, she concealed it from her friends and family.
The day she felt labor pains, she drove to a Dundee hotel to give birth, slipping into a warm bath to relieve her pain.
Sargent told investigators she passed out, and when she awoke, the newly born child lay in the water, limp and unresponsive. She took the baby home and then set off early the next day.
She told investigators she drove to an unfamiliar part of town and left the baby in a Dumpster at an apartment complex.
Sargent said she knew people could leave babies at fire stations, but the child was dead.
An autopsy could not determine the cause of death.
Crisp says he can't escape the image of the tiny baby. He suffers from epilepsy, and said the shock triggered a seizure.
"I'm trying to bury it in the back of my mind," he said. "But it's not working."
News researcher John Martin contributed to this report.