An 18-year-old mother who threw her newborn baby in a New Mexico dumpster last week didn’t know she was pregnant until the day before she gave birth, police said Monday.
Alexis Avila, the child's mother, was arrested after confessing to dumping her baby in the dumpster on Friday in the 1400 block of N. Thorp in Hobbs, a city located in the southeast corner of the state near the Texas border, according to police.
She was charged with attempted murder and felony child abuse.
Avila was tracked using surveillance footage from a nearby store that captured her pulling up to the dumpster in a white vehicle, throwing a black plastic bag in it and driving away, police said.
She told detectives she was not aware she was pregnant until Jan 6. when she sought medical attention for abdominal pain and constipation, Hobbs Police Interim Chief August Fons said in a news conference Monday. The next day, she experienced stomach pain and gave birth.
Avila identified who she believed the father was and said she ended the relationship with him in August 2021, according to police. Authorities were working to contact him.
She told investigators that she "panicked, did not know what to do or who to call," when she gave birth, Fons said.
Avila then cut the umbilical cord, wrapped the baby in a towel, put the child in a white plastic bag with trash, placed it inside a larger black trash bag and drove around until she decided to toss the bag in a green dumpster, according to the chief.
Authorities estimate the infant was in the dumpster for six hours when three people looking through it for items of value heard crying. They found the baby and called police, authorities said.
Fons said the child, described by one of the three people who discovered the infant in the trash as a male, is currently stable at a hospital in Lubbock, Texas. The baby is in the custody of the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, he said.
Avila's parents told police they did not know their daughter was pregnant and only knew that she was having some stomach problems, Fons said.
Search warrants were obtained for the white vehicle Avila was seen driving and her home. Evidence, including blood swabs, clothing and a towel, were seized.
Avila was arrested and processed into jail Saturday and released later that evening. Fons said she was released on $10,000 bond.
Fons reminded the public that the city police and fire departments are designated safe havens where people can leave infants with staff without being subjected to criminal prosecution for abandonment if the infant was born within 90 days.
Avila's next court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday at 2:15 p.m. in Lovington District Court.