Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 14, 2013

$500,000 bond for 19-year-old

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — A district court judge set a bond for an incarcerated Illinois teen accused of killing her newborn daughter at a Benzie County campsite.

Eighty-fifth District Court Judge John Mead assigned Alyce Morales a $500,000 bond with 10 percent cash or surety due to the court during an ongoing preliminary exam.

Investigators contend Morales, 19, of Cicero, Ill., killed her newborn baby Marie in late July after giving birth alone in a tent while camping with her parents in Platte River Campground.

Morales remains in Benzie County’s jail, her attorney Jesse Williams said.

Attorneys from both sides are coordinating witnesses in order to schedule the next day of the preliminary exam. They are also waiting on several pieces of outstanding evidence, including medical reports and autopsy findings.

Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Rick Sekely, the lead investigator on the case, testified during Thursday’s proceedings.

Sekely testified another detective who attended the infant’s autopsy in Grand Rapids said her death was caused by blunt force trauma to the head, a skull fracture and a lacerated liver.

“It’s kind of hearsay, but it did come out in court,” Benzie County Prosecutor Sara Swanson said.

Williams cautioned about relying on the second-hand testimony. He added the facts are starting to become clear after initial reports of the baby’s death were “sensationalized as some murder.”

The child was born unattended in a tent at a campsite and died after being under medical care for more than eight hours, Williams said. Emergency personnel who first arrived on scene did not seem to respond with a sense of emergency, he contends.

“They seemed to think everything was as good as could possibly be, given the circumstances,” Williams said.