Only on 3: Witness recalls moments leading up to discovery of dead baby in trash bag in Portsmouth

Posted at 1:06 PM, Mar 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-26 16:25:52-04

Editor’s note: Some details in this story may be disturbing to readers.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A judge has ruled there is enough probable cause to move forward in the case against a Portsmouth mother charged with killing her newborn and placing it in a trash bag.

Donita M. Hawkins was charged with second degree murder

Paramedics responded to a home on Merrimac Drive in Portsmouth on January 27, 2017 for a woman about to have a baby. At that time, Donita Hawkins was taken to the hospital. Once there, she revealed to doctors that she had delivered the baby, cut the umbilical cord and put the infant in a trash bag.

On Monday, the court learned the child was a baby boy and was born early in the morning on January 27. Paramedics were not called to the house until around 2 that afternoon. They testified not seeing the infant or the bag until both Hawkins and the concealed infant arrived at the hospital.

A doctor testified in court that the infant was dead upon arrival at the hospital and the medical examiner testified that during her autopsy she discovered the baby was full term when he was born and breathed on his own after birth. The cause of death, according to the medical examiner, was sharp force injury to the umbilical cord, cocaine exposure, neglect and infection to the placenta.

A detective also testified in court, saying Hawkins made a statement to him at the hospital as he was investigating the homicide. He told the court Hawkins had stated she had smoked crack cocaine and after giving birth, she was scared of the baby so she placed it on the bed and fell asleep.

In the early stages of the trial, the judge announced Hawkins was competent enough to stand trial.

News 3 spoke to the man who called 911 and he said he never knew she had the baby, though he did observe blood on her pants. He said he is father to four of Hawkins' other kids and said he thinks her mental health was not sound when the incident occurred.

The case will be presented to the Grand Jury. From there, a trial date will be set. Stay with News 3 for the very latest developments in the case.


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