A 25-year-old Centralia mother was arrested and booked for suspected first-degree murder Wednesday in connection with the March 2 death of her premature infant.
Laura L. Hickey allegedly cut off her 21-week-old baby's head with a knife after he was born naturally in her residence before 1 a.m. at the Peppertree West Motor Inn.
"All I know is that she admitted it," Officer John Panco said, declining details on the investigation that culminated Wednesday morning with police's questioning of Hickey.
When the investigation began, Panco had said it would take about a week for police, the coroner's office and the prosecuting attorney's office to determine if the baby — Caleb Jacob Hickey — was alive at the time of birth.
A forensic pathologist indicated in a preliminary finding of a post-mortem examination that the baby was alive at birth, and that fatal injuries — decapitation — were inflicted intentionally.
Panco said Hickey has two other children "but they weren't present at the time" of the incident.
When neighbors called police to report cries for help coming from Hickey's home, paramedics responded to the mother's residence and transported her to Providence Centralia Hospital.
Hickey told doctors she had a miscarriage; an examination revealed she had given birth.
When Hickey was questioned by medical staff, she allegedly admitted her baby was under a kitchen sink at 1208 Alder St. Responding officers found the baby's remains there in a container.
Hickey is expected to appear Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court for a preliminary appearance on the first-degree murder charge.
Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said the baby's early stage of development — allegedly 21 weeks — will not matter in the case.
To see more of The Chronicle or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.chronline.com/. (c) 2011, The Chronicle, Centralia, Wash. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.