Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 25, 2013

Teen charged with slaying her newborn

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — HONOR — An Illinois teenager charged in the death of her newborn child kept her pregnancy secret from her parents before giving birth while on a family vacation at a Benzie County campsite, authorities said.

Alyce Morales, 18, of Cicero, Ill., was arraigned Thursday in 85th District Court on a felony count of open murder. Michigan State Police Sgt. Scott Bates said autopsy results determined her infant daughter, Marie Morales, born Monday at Platte River Campground, was slain.

“The doctor described injuries consistent with blunt force trauma,” Bates said.

Court documents state Morales camped with her parents Monday at Platte River Campground, but they did not know about her pregnancy.

“Alyce did not want to tell her parents for fear of disappointment,” the document states.

Morales fell sick that night and excused herself to the family tent where she gave birth alone at about 11:20 p.m. Bates said Morales’ parents found their daughter and the newborn in the tent soon after and called 911. The baby was transported to Munson Medical Center where she was pronounced dead Tuesday at 8:57 a.m.

The initial cause of death was believed to be hypothermia and lack of timely medical care, but an autopsy performed in Grand Rapids discovered “serious injuries” to the newborn’s head and abdomen that caused her death, the document states. Morales waived her Miranda rights on Wednesday when interviewed by Michigan State Police.

Court documents state she made “several admissions” that she “freaked out” and struck the baby with her closed fist.

“Alyce was asked if she felt her actions had caused all of the injuries to the baby,” the document states. “She responded that she did.”

Eighty-fifth District Court Judge John Mead denied Morales’ bond during Thursday’s arraignment and she remains in Benzie County’s jail.

Prosecutor Sara Swanson said Mead was concerned the Illinois resident was a flight risk. She said the open homicide charge -- which carries a maximum life imprisonment penalty -- could be changed as the investigation proceeds.

“Open murder means that once the case goes to jury they can decide between first- and second-degree,” she said, elaborating that the difference between first- and second-degree homicide is premeditation. “At this point it’s just so early, I guess I want a little more information before I decide.”