Baby found dead in Staten Island drain pipe released from hospital

A 3-week-old baby girl, whose parents were detained after she was discovered stuck to a drain pipe in the Staten Island neighborhood of Mariners Harbor, was released from the hospital Monday, police said.

That custody transfer allows the parents, Tony Legaspi and Tayisia Braden, to be released from the Staten Island jail.

Legaspi was sentenced to eight years in prison on Sept. 19 for throwing an infant off the Brooklyn Bridge, a spokesman for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office said. Braden is accused of giving birth to the baby in her home in Mariners Harbor over the weekend and leaving the child in the street to die.

The baby, a girl with blue skin and sandy blonde hair, was found Saturday night wedged between a drain pipe and the sidewalk while Legaspi and Braden were inside the home watching TV, according to police.

Television footage showed several police officers attempting to rescue the baby by prying open the pipe and lifting it with jackhammers.

The baby was rushed to Richmond University Medical Center, where she underwent surgery for internal injuries and was pronounced dead shortly after the rescue.

Investigators determined that the baby had been born alive and was stillborn. Police said Legaspi and Braden then stuffed the body into a suitcase and stashed it in a gym bag that they left in the dumpster.

The 2-inch-deep wound and the presence of blood inside the body were enough to cause the coroner to rule that the baby had died.

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Once the autopsy was complete, police released an image of the remains to the public in hopes someone would recognize the baby or call police with information.

Investigators suspected the baby might have died at some point, even if the baby was born alive, and that a person may have taken the corpse and placed it in a drain pipe.

The head of the NYPD’s cold case squad, Chief Joseph Esposito, said the homicide squad was alerted early Monday that the baby had been discharged from the hospital and had arrived at the police station.

The infant’s death has been ruled a homicide, Esposito said.

Legal Aid Society spokesman David Bookstaver said in a statement that the young woman “believes she is not responsible for the death of her baby” and that the organization has been providing a temporary housing and mental health services to the 23-year-old.

“Based on her conduct, Legal Aid has advised her to avail herself of a number of legal and social services programs to be treated for mental health issues,” Bookstaver said.

With News Wire Services

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