Crime & Courts

Wichita State student’s baby found dead in trash can likely born alive, autopsy says

Marissa Carol Fields, 19, is charged with murder and child abandonment.
Marissa Carol Fields, 19, is charged with murder and child abandonment.

An autopsy concludes that a baby found dead last Christmas in an Olathe trash can was probably born healthy and alive, according to court documents released Wednesday.

The baby girl’s mother, 19-year-old Marissa Carol Fields, was charged earlier this month in Johnson County District Court with first-degree felony murder and aggravated abandonment of a child.

Fields, who was a Wichita State University resident assistant last school year, is free on bond pending her next court appearance Thursday.

According to the affidavit filed to support the charges, a relative discovered the baby’s body inside a plastic bag in a trash can and called Olathe police.

When interviewed by a detective, Fields said she didn’t tell anyone she was pregnant before delivering the baby at home on Dec. 19.

She said the baby was born blue and cold to the touch, according to the affidavit. She said she put the baby in plastic bags and placed the bags in a trash can.

“The defendant maintained that she did not see the baby move or cry after giving birth,” a detective wrote in the court document.

However, according to an autopsy, the “near-term” baby’s lungs “were expanded with air.”

The infant was 19 inches long and weighed 5 pounds, 6 ounces.

“The autopsy findings are consistent with a live birth of a healthy infant,” according to the affidavit.

A later search of Fields’ phone found Internet searches for “how to naturally induce a miscarriage” and “how to naturally induce labor,” according to the affidavit.

Carl Cornwell, the attorney representing Fields, said Wednesday he could not comment on the information in the affidavit.

He said he is planning to have his client meet with a forensic psychologist, and “we’ll figure out what to do from there.”

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