Fetus found in box under Christmas tree

December 16th, 2009 by

BROWNSVILLE — A San Juan woman and her boyfriend were arraigned Monday on charges stemming from the discovery of an aborted fetus in a blanket-wrapped gift box under a Christmas tree.

Police found the corpse Thursday morning inside the woman’s trailer home after receiving an anonymous tip, San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez said.

Ruby Lee Medina, 31, and Javier Gonzalez, 37, of Mission face charges of abuse of a corpse, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in jail; and evidence tampering, a felony carrying a possible sentence of two to 10 years in prison.

The chief said Medina was apparently in her seventh month of pregnancy and investigators are awaiting autopsy results and other tests. A self-induced abortion is illegal when the pregnancy is so far advanced.

“Herself and her companion, Javier Gonzalez, attempted to discard or harm the fetus by flushing it down the toilet,” Chief Gonzalez said. When that didn’t work, he said, “their attempt was to bury the fetus in the backyard.”

“Apparently they cleaned up the fetus and they placed it inside a gift box under the Christmas tree. … We still don’t know why they didn’t follow the proper burial process.”

The two had been cooperating with police, the chief said, and each were released on $20,000 bond after appearing in Municipal Court in San Juan.

Gonzalez said police were investigating reports that medication used to induce abortions was being illegally sold in the Rio Grande Valley. He said officers believe Medina used such pills Thursday morning, sometime before 9 a.m., then called an ambulance after she began bleeding and told doctors she didn’t know where the fetus was.

“We do feel there could be some illegal drug activity going on with prescription pills that deal with pregnancy,” Gonzalez said.

He said investigators also are trying to determine if Javier Gonzalez beat Medina to induce the abortion. He also said the hospital failed to report that the fetus was missing, and police are looking into that, too.

Regardless of the circumstances of the abortion, state law governs how the fetus is treated, the chief said, adding, “The fact of the matter is if it’s a fetus, it’s a human corpse.”


One Response

  1. Johnny D

    Police can find a “fetus” in a box but can’t find Haley Cummings, I mean WTF!!!It must have smelled like warm perogies.

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