A 19-year-old woman was arrested after she walked into a hospital and told doctors she delivered a baby in her apartment, and police found the body of a newborn in the garbage chute of the building early Saturday.
The medical examiner said the child was stillborn. Police say Ariel Devonish-Francis claimed to have put the baby in a plastic bag and then into the trash in her West Farms Road building's garbage room.
Devonish-Francis was charged with misappropriation of a cadaver.
The teenager's brother said he was stunned.
"She must have been in shock," said Rafael Francis, 18.
Francis, who believes his sister "wouldn't hurt a fly," said he was watching TV at the time police say Devonish-Francis went to the bathroom and gave birth.
Francis said that he and his mother had no idea his sister was in labor. He said that while she only announced she was pregnant a few days ago, she had discussed keeping the baby.
Sandra Padilla, a neighbor, fought back tears as she considered both the plight of the young mother and her baby.
"She could have come to me if she needed help and was too afraid to tell her family," said Padilla.
On Sunday, a small memorial with teddy bears, candles and flowers marked the entrance to the garbage room where the newborn was found.