Pregnancy hoaxes are often played for laughs on TV, with women thinking up ridiculous ways to hide their fake belly, conspiring to adopt a local teen's unwanted baby, and perhaps singing karaoke versions of pop songs to express their emotional turmoil. Now a real-life pregnancy scheme has come to light, and unlike on televison, the story has an extremely tragic and heartbreaking end.
33-year-old Annette Morales-Rodriguez told detectives that her boyfriend wanted a son, so when she couldn't conceive she told him she was pregnant anyway, the Associated Press reports. She planned to find a baby to pass off as her own, but with her fake due date approaching rapidly, she started to panic. Now she's accused of cutting a fetus out of his mother's womb, killing both the mother and child.
Morales-Rodriguez told authorities that last Wednesday she drove around Milwaukee looking for pregnant women. She didn't see any, so on Thursday she went to a nonprofit organization that provides health care for Hispanics, and spotted Maritza Ramirez-Cruz. The 23-year-old was set to deliver her fourth child, a boy she and her husband Christian Mercado planned to name Omar, on October 16. Morales-Rodriguez told authorities that she offered the younger woman a ride, then said she had to stop at her house. Ramirez-Cruz came inside to use the bathroom, and when she came back into the room, Morales-Rodriguez attacked her with a baseball bat, choked her until she passed out, tied her up, and cut her open with an Exacto knife.
Though Morales-Rodriguez thought she'd be able to perform a Cesarean after watching one on the Discovery Channel, the baby wasn't breathing. After smearing blood around her legs to make it look like she'd given birth, she called 911 and said she'd given birth to a stillborn baby. She bolted from the hospital before doctors could examine her, but later they determined that the child wasn't delivered vaginally. Police discovered Ramirez-Cruz's body at the house, and Morales-Rodriguez was arrested.
Outside the family home today, the murdered baby's grandfather said he didn't know how his son would raise the couple's three children, who are six and younger, on his own. "He'll have to be the mother and father. I don't know how he's going to make it. He's got to grow them up, take them to school, get them in the shower," said Carlos Mercado. "He's real sad. He's real hurt." Morales-Rodriguez has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide while armed and first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child while armed, and she's facing mandatory life in prison if convicted.