NJ Couple Arrested in Alleged Dumping of Fetus

The couple claimed the fetus was the product of a stillborn birth

Tuesday, May 22, 2012  |  Updated 10:13 AM EDT
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Morris County Prosecutor's Office

Daniel Aratow, left, and Erin Dougherty, right, are being investigated in their claim that a fetus thrown out the trash was the product of a stillborn birth

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A New Jersey couple has been charged with illegally dumping the remains of a fetus in the trash outside their home.

Authorities arrested 25-year-old Erin Dougherty and 31-year-old Daniel Aratow of East Hanover May 9 on charges of unlawful disposal of medical waste.

Dougherty went to Morristown Medical Center complaining of stomach pains after claiming she had a stillborn birth after being pregnant for about 25 weeks, but investigators are questioning whether the claim is true.

"We do have some concerns based on our preliminary investigation with regard to conflicting stories that we're receiving with regard to whether this was a stillborn birth or not," said Morris County prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi at a news conference Monday.

More serious charges may be filed against the couple "if the child was born, and thrown out alive," said Bianchi.

The fetus had been taken in the trash to the Morris County Transfer Station, then to a landfill located in Pennsylvania. Bianchi would not say if it has been recovered in the investigation. 

Dougherty and Aratow were released on bail. It wasn't immediately known if they had attorneys.

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