BERWICK – A day care employee told police she didn’t intend to harm her newborn girl when she placed the infant – with the placenta still attached – in a plastic bag that she set outside a window into freezing temperatures Saturday morning.
Jennifer Lynn Killian, 23, said she placed the infant outside her Garfield Avenue home in an attempt to hide the newborn from her parents, and planned to take the infant girl to Berwick Hospital.
When her father, Charles Drasher, discovered the infant, Killian told police she abandoned her plans because she feared her parents, police said.
Killian, who has a 1-year-old daughter and is employed by Susquehanna Valley Development Center, was arrested by police early Thursday morning on allegations she endangered the infant girl by placing the newborn in freezing temperatures.
Police said in arrest records the outside temperature when the infant girl was found was 17 degrees, and the body core temperature of the infant was 84 degrees.
Physicians at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, where the infant was treated, informed police the newborn would not have survived outside for more than five minutes, arrest records say.
Killian was charged with felony counts of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children, and a misdemeanor count of recklessly endangering another person. She was arraigned at 3:15 a.m. by District Judge Marvin Shrawder in Danville and jailed at the Columbia County Prison for lack of $1 million bail.
The newborn girl was initially transferred to Berwick Hospital and flown to Geisinger Medical, police said.
Police said Columbia County Children and Youth Services has custody of the newborn girl.
According to the criminal complaint filed by Berwick police Det. Kenneth Strish:
Killian admitted she gave birth to a girl in a first-floor bathroom Saturday morning. She placed the infant in a shopping bag that she retrieved from a garbage can inside the home, and placed the infant and bag outside through the bathroom window.
Killian claimed she hid her pregnancy from her parents by wearing baggy clothes. After she gave birth, she wanted to hide the newborn by placing it outside with intentions of taking the infant to Berwick Hospital, the criminal complaint says.
Killian’s father, Charles Drasher, was outside in the rear of the home at about the same time when Killian placed the infant on the ground.
Drasher heard some noises as he walked back into the home. He went back outside and saw the plastic bag moving and the infant inside with the umbilicord wrapped around the newborn’s neck, police said.
Drasher carried the infant inside the home where his wife and Killian’s mother, Trudy Drasher, cared for the newborn until paramedics arrived.
Police said in the criminal complaint that Killian was inside the home when her mother was caring for the newborn.
Friends and a co-worker at the child development council, Tammy Bankes, told police that they believed Killian was pregnant, but Killian denied she was expecting a baby, blaming her appearance on weight gain, according to the criminal complaint.
Bankes told police, the criminal complaint says, that when Killian arrived for work on Monday, “Killian no longer had the belly.”
Police linked Killian to the newborn through DNA tests, the criminal complaint says.
A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 5.