Newborn found dead in shoebox; 14-year-old mom arrested

Lakeland girl charged with 1st-degree murder

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Polk County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Cassidy Goodson

LAKELAND, Fla. - A 14-year-old Central Florida girl who hid her pregnancy was arrested on suspicion of choking her newborn to death after giving birth in her home.

(WARNING: Graphic details)

On Sept. 19, the Polk County sheriff's deputies and officials from the Florida Department of Children and Families were called to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center after the Lakeland girl, Cassidy Goodson, was treated for what was reported to be a miscarriage.

A few days later, deputies received a call saying that the body of a full-term baby had been located inside a shoebox at the girl's residence, according to officials.

Goodson's mother found the baby's body after she noticed an odor while collecting dirty laundry in her daughter's room, according to deputies.

Goodson told detectives she began to feel sick on Sept. 17, and two days later she went into the bathroom because she was in labor, the Sheriff's Office said.  Deputies said the girl placed a towel in her mouth and turned on the water to conceal any noise.

The teen said she used a pair of scissors to "pry the baby out," and a 9.5 pound, 20.4 inch boy was delivered alive into the toilet, deputies said. The girl said she lifted the infant from the toilet, felt for a pulse, found one, then placed her hands around the infant's neck and squeezed until he wasn't moving or breathing any longer, the Sheriff's Office said.

Deputies said the girl then cleaned the bathroom, bathing herself and the dead infant before placing the child's body in a shoebox, along with soiled towels and clothing.

Detectives learned Goodson, who weighs 100 pounds and is about 5 feet 3 inches tall, had been attempting to conceal her pregnancy from her family by wearing baggy clothing for the past several months.

An autopsy determined the newborn was a full-term infant and that he was alive and breathing prior to death. The cause of death was a result of asphyxia from strangulation and blunt force trauma.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Goodson told detectives that she choked the baby to "stop him from breathing."

She was arrested Thursday on charges of premeditated first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

An investigation is ongoing.

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