A loophole in state law is preventing Campbell County investigators from charging a woman they say killed her newborn baby.
Deputies were called to a home in the 1200 block of Lone Jack Road in Rustburg around 11:00a.m. Friday. The caller said a woman in her early 20s was in labor. When deputies arrived, they discovered the baby had actually been born around 1:00a.m., about ten hours earlier. Investigators say the baby was already dead when deputies got there.
Investigators tell WSLS the baby's airway was still blocked. They say the baby was under bedding and had been suffocated by her mother. Investigators say because the mother and baby were still connected by the umbilical cord and placenta, state law does not consider the baby to be a separate life. Therefore, the mother cannot be charged.
"In the state of Virginia as long as the umbilical cord is attached and the placenta is still in the mother, if the baby comes out alive the mother can do whatever she wants to with that baby to kill it," says Investigator Tracy Emerson. "She could shoot the baby, stab the baby. As long as it's still attached to her in some form by umbilical cord or something it's no crime in the state of Virginia."