- (Photo: Mugshot/Polk County Police Department)
A 14-year-old girl who strangled her newborn baby after giving birth at her Florida home will be prosecuted as an adult for first degree murder and aggravated child abuse, a Polk grand jury determined Thursday.
Cassidy Goodson gave birth to a 9.5-pound boy on Sept. 19 in her parents' bathroom in Lakeland. Goodson told police that she concealed her labor pains by biting on a towel and running bath water.
Goodson reportedly gave birth to her infant son while sitting on the toilet. She then checked the baby for a pulse, and after realizing it was alive, strangled the child to "stop him from breathing."
She then hid the newborn in a shoe box, wrapped in towels, and placed him in her dirty laundry basket.
Goodson was admitted to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center on the eve of the birth for a supposed miscarriage, but her mother did not discover the newborn's body until days later, when she detected a foul smell emitting from the laundry basket.
The high school freshman was arrested on Sept. 28 for the alleged murder of her child.
Goodson reportedly told police that she killed the baby because she "didn't know what to do with it" and "didn't want the relationship with her parents to change."
She also informed police that she used scissors to "pry the baby out" while giving birth.
An autopsy found that the baby died from asphyxia from strangulation and blunt force trauma.
Goodson managed to conceal her pregnancy from her parents for nine months by reportedly wearing sweat pants and baggy sweatshirts while out, and wrapping a blanket around herself while at home.
As The Ledger reports, two of Goodson's aunts were suspicious that the 14-year-old was pregnant, but the mother, Teresa, "was in complete denial," according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
While she will be tried as an adult, many critics argue that her young age should be taken into account during court proceedings.
"Let's remember she is a child," Sheriff Judd told reporters, according to The Huffington Post..
"Where was her support system?" he questioned.
Goodson attended her first court appearance on Friday, Oct. 5 to hear her charges, and is being held at the Polk County Juvenile Detention Facility.