WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A 38 year-old woman from Westfield has been charged with disposing of a baby after giving birth, though the baby’s body has never been found.
Jim Leydon, spokesperson for the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office, told 22News that Shanna Sharples was arrested Tuesday on charges of child endangerment and improper disposal of a body, as well as three counts of obstruction of justice.
The arrest comes nearly five months since police began their investigation. Leydon says that Sharples had checked herself into Baystate Noble Medical Center on May 4, reporting that she had a miscarriage. Sharples had reportedly brought to the hospital “biological tissue, which was consistent with what a woman who had given birth would have produced.” There was, however, no baby. Staff from the hospital called police, after determining that Sharples had likely just given birth to a 24-week to full-term baby.
For days, Westfield and state police investigated both at a Southampton Road apartment complex and the town’s transfer station on Twiss Street, but no information was being released at that time, with police saying they were bound by state law not to discuss the matter.
Leydon said that there had been concern that the baby may have been thrown into the trash, which was collected and taken to the transfer station the morning the incident was reported. It is estimated that police had sifted through some 50 tons of rubbish. Investigators also searched through dumpsters near Sharples’ home and several nearby wooded areas.
Sharples was granted $10,000 cash bail during her arraignment Wednesday in Westfield District Court. She is due back in court on November 3.
- Police, district attorney conduct investigation in Westfield
- Still little information about ongoing investigation in Westfield
- Westfield residents demand answers on mysterious investigation
- Questions still loom over mysterious investigation in Westfield