Before Baby Cut Out of Womb, a Troubling Post

Bereavement doula who read it wonders if tragedy could have been prevented
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2015 8:56 AM CDT
This undated booking photo provided by the Longmont Police Department shows Dynel Lane, 34.   (AP Photo/Longmont Police Department)

(Newser) – In January, a bereavement doula read a troubling post on a Facebook page for breastfeeding mothers. "I have a friend whose wife is pregnant and he confided in my fiancé that she refuses to go to the doctor. Her whole pregnancy has been sketchy," the person wrote. "She was supposedly due in mid-November then mid-December. Here it is mid-January and still no baby." The doula, Elizabeth Petrucelli, responded: "This is a red flag. My concern would be for any pregnant woman being around her because if she is desperate, she may do the unmentionable and harm the mother and take the baby." The post, as it turned out, was about 34-year-old Dynel Lane, who was arrested last week for allegedly luring pregnant 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins to her Colorado home, attacking her, and removing the baby girl from her womb; the infant did not survive.

"It's haunting to look back and read those words and see that I said this is possible," Petrucelli tells KDVR. In her Facebook response, she had also suggested someone take Lane to a doctor or therapist. "Could it have been prevented?" she wonders now. As for Wilkins, she is "improving minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour," her uncle tells KRDO; she's reportedly in critical but stable condition. Longmont first responders tell KDVR they weren't prepared for the grisly scene they walked into after responding to Wilkins' 911 call: "I actually had to walk out for a second because my head wasn't able to wrap around it," says one. "She was covered from head to toe in blood," says another. But the first adds that Wilkins "saved her own life. ... She is probably one of the strongest people I've ever had the pleasure to meet." KWGN reports that prosecutors may charge Lane with murder; it depends whether a medical examiner determines the baby could have lived outside her mother's womb.

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