PUNTA GORDA - After a six-month investigation, police and prosecutors say no criminal charges can be filed against a woman who gave birth to a stillborn fetus, that had traces of cocaine in its blood, that authorities found in a freezer at her home.
Around 8:30 p.m. on January 29, Punta Gorda Police officers responded to home in the 300 block of Boca Grande Boulevard for a medical call after a resident, Jessica Smallwood, 27, was transported to Peace River Medical Center with heavy bleeding.
Hospital staff determined that Smallwood had delivered a full-term baby, which was unaccounted for. Smallwood denied delivering a child, initially explaining that she flushed a blood clot down the toilet. Several other varying and inconsistent stories led investigators in wrong directions.
A search warrant led to the discovery of a 6 1/2-pound, third-trimester female fetus packed inside a garbage bag in a freezer in the garage of the home, according to a news release from the Punta Gorda Police Department. Tests showed the fetus had cocaine in its system.
Samantha Syoen, the spokeswoman for the 20th Judicial Circuit of Florida, said prosecutors reviewed the case and related laws, finding nothing that the mother could be charged with. Smallwood was never arrested...
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