A 26-year-old pregnant woman in Colorado, spotting a Craigslist ad for baby clothes, drove to the home of the woman who placed the ad. When the pregnant woman arrived on Wednesday, she was beaten and stabbed by the 34-year-old woman who lives there, police said. The attacker then did something nearly unimaginable: She “removed” the fetus from her victim’s body, according to police in Longmont, Colo.
Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur identified the suspect on Thursday morning as Dynel Lane.
While the victim was left on the floor with a stab wound in her abdomen, Lane took the fetus to the hospital, claiming she had suffered a miscarriage, the Denver Post reported. The baby has since died. Lane is in police custody at Boulder County Jail, according to booking records.
She’s being held on $2 million bond and formal charges are scheduled to be filed next week, the Denver Post reported. Prosecutors are weighing what to charge Lane, including whether they can bring murder charges.
“The issue of whether or not murder charges are appropriate involving a case involving a death of a fetus or late-term pregnancy is always a difficult issue,” Boulder County District Attorney Stanley Garnett said at a Thursday news conference. “Under Colorado law, essentially there is no way murder charges can be brought if it’s not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother for some period of time.”
An autopsy will be performed Friday and Lane’s public defender asked that an expert witness for the defense be present for it, the Denver Post reported.
“In this particular case, the cause of death is going to be essential,” the public defender said in court.
Investigators have “a pretty good idea” of the motivation of the suspect, Satur told The Washington Post in a Thursday morning phone call. Although Satur declined to discuss details, he said “it would be something everybody would think.”
The victim was able to call 911 after she was attacked, Satur said, leading the police to her location in Longmont, about 15 miles from Boulder and 35 miles from Denver.
As responding officers approached Lane’s house, they “could hear a female calling for help inside the home,” according to a statement from Longmont police. “Officers entered the home and located a female who had been beaten and stabbed in the stomach.”
In an audio recording of the victim’s 911 call,
“She cut me,” the victim tells the dispatcher during the call. “I’m pregnant.”
The victim was seven months pregnant. She is expected to recover following surgery, and is “alert, answering questions, and is with her family,” Satur said in an e-mailed statement on Thursday morning.
“This is a tragic case for a mother right now,” Satur told the Denver Post. “She came by this house. She was attacked, and her baby was removed from her.”
Police are unsure whether the suspect placed a Craigslist ad with the intention of selling baby clothes or whether the post was “just an ad for lure,” Satur said on Thursday.
Authorities have asked for “any other mothers [who] responded to the Craigslist ad for baby cloths” to contact police. In relation to the ad, “the suspect identified herself as ‘D’ or Dynel,” Satur said.
According to an arrest police report obtained by the Denver Post, Lane’s husband told police that he had planned to take her to a prenatal checkup appointment when he arrived at the house and found her covered in blood. Lane told him she had miscarried and the fetus was in the bathtub, the police report reads.
The husband told police he drove Lane and the fetus to the hospital. According to the arrest report, the emergency room surgeon told police that whoever cut the woman had to have researched cesarean births, give the accuracy of the incision.
Lane’s teenage daughters told police Lane showed them ultrasound photos of a baby boy in December, the arrest report reads.
Satur said the husband is not currently a suspect and was not arrested, as police believe “he went into this unknowingly.”
A relative told the Associated Press on Thursday that Lane’s 19-month-old son accidentally drowned more than a decade ago. Aaron Cruz, the paternal grandfather of Lane’s deceased son, said that the family was shocked to learn the allegations against her, and that Lane had been a “fine parent” to her children. Lane, who also has two daughters, had been trying to have another son, he said.
A 2002 obituary for Michael Alexander Cruz, identified by the AP as that of Lane’s son, lists a Dynel Cruz as the child’s mother. “Michael was affectionately known to his family as ‘Little Mac.’ He loved playing with his sisters, cousins and friends. He had just learned to sing his first song, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,'” the obituary said.
Lane has an expired license as a nurse’s aide in Colorado.
She was arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and child abuse knowingly/reckless resulting in death, Satur said.
Garnett said his office is also considering Lane’s mental health in determining what charges to bring. “We’re looking very thoroughly through Ms. Lane’s history.”
[This post, originally published at 8:33 a.m., has been updated multiple times.]