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Teen charged in death of newborn

Published Oct. 10, 2005

Eighteen-year-old Tabatha Turner delivered her own 7-pound baby at home in the early hours of Jan. 27.

The baby was crying when Turner went into the bathroom to "take care of herself."

But when she returned, she later told police, the baby was sleeping. Turner said she wrapped the infant in a sheet, put it on the floor of the closet and threw clothes on top. A family member found the child dead the next day.

Turner of 1160 Fifth Ave. NE in Largo was arrested Friday morning at her home and charged with manslaughter. The student at the Pinellas Technical Education Center in Largo was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Turner lives with a 14-month-old daughter, her parents and her sister in a duplex apartment near Highland Avenue. Turner's daughter has been placed temporarily with other family members, police said.

Family members declined to comment on the case Friday. A neighbor, William R. Nowling Jr., said the family has lived in the duplex about six years.

Police say Turner tried to keep her parents from knowing about her pregnancy. After the birth, she told her parents she had had a miscarriage, police said.

But the next day, when Turner continued to bleed heavily, her mother drove her to University General Hospital in Seminole for treatment. She later was transferred to the Women's Medical Center in Seminole.

Although doctors were convinced that Turner had given birth, she continued to deny it for seven hours, according to police.

A family member went back to the house, found the dead baby in the closet and brought the body to the medical center, according to the police report.

After a police investigation, information was turned over to a grand jury, which heard the case Wednesday. A warrant for Turner's arrest was issued Friday.