The bottom of an air shaft in a West New York, New Jersey apartment building became a 31-foot deep tomb for one baby and nearly a death sentence for a second. Last week the sounds of a newborn crying echoed throughout the West New York apartment building until residents called 911 to get help in discovering the source of the muffled cries.

A newborn baby boy was found crying at the bottom of an air shaft. Lucila, his 18 year-old mother, threw him there from the window of her third floor apartment. The baby landed with a linear skull fracture but is currently is good condition in the neo-natal intensive care unit of the Jersey City Medical Center children’s ward.

Investigators also discovered the rotting corpse of a newborn baby girl born a year earlier than her brother buried beneath a year’s worth of air shaft debris. That baby’s mother was also Lucila. She birthed both babies alone at home.

Lucila has been charged with murder and attempted murder. The father of Lucila’s two babies is allegedly Lucila’s own father. He has been accused of sexually molesting her since she was 13. Lucila’s mother planned to adopt the newborn baby boy when he is released from the hospital until she found out her husband was accused of fathering her daughter’s children.

The tragedy here is obvious but other unpopular questions may not be immediately begged by the horror of the air shaft, but I will breach them now:

1. Where was the sense of community in the apartment building? Does a 13 year-old suffer sexual assault for five years in total social silence? If the voice is muted, doesn’t the body sing out the sins of the father for those who care enough to notice? Evil doesn’t hide well in the light of questions.

2. Did anyone in the neighborhood wonder about a young woman being pregnant for 18 months but with no babies to show for the effort? Did anyone take any interest in the lives beneath her skin?

3. Is anyone else bothered by the facts of these throwaway babies and does anyone else wonder about the cruelty and the fear a young 13 year-old girl must face when a father enters her life in a way that crushes her spirit while breaking the law?

Does anyone care what kind of life that baby boy will have with a broken head, a mother who threw him away down 31 feet, a father who is also his grandfather and a grandmother who no longer wants him? If you aren’t familiar with any Boarder Babies programs in your area, ask around to see if there is a program available and then get involved. If there isn’t a program, help create one.

Perhaps if Lucila knew there were programs that would help her and her babies — with no questions asked and no judgments rendered — she could have begun the process of healing by breaking away from a father’s incubus grasp while her babies thrived in the arms of those who care.


  1. I remember being young and sometimes not knowing if I could tell my parents about little insignificant things. I can’t imagine how much worse it would be for a teenage mother who was abused by her father.
    Because of these situations, there is a law in Illinois that allows mothers unable to care for their newborns to leave their baby with hospitals, staffed police or fire stations, and emergency medical personnel. My state, Indiana, has a similar law that allows mothers to leave their babies at hospitals.
    See for details on Illinois’ Safe Haven Law and a list of other states’ newborn protection laws.

  2. Thank you for the illuminating comment, Chris! Your information is helpful and deeply appreciated.
    If we all come together to help people who are unable to help themselves we make the entire community stronger and more vibrant.

  3. Those on the street might say that baby boy is doomed and would be better off dead. Harsh, but that’s the community standard in some neighborhoods.

  4. That is a rough standard, Karvain, but I can understand how some would come to that conclusion.
    The issue cuts both ways: End his life before birth and we aren’t valuing life; he survives and his life may complicate into a continued drain on social resources for as long as he lives, negatively affecting the value of all the lives around him.
    Suffering is all around us as we decay into our deaths and that’s why coming together to help each other benefits each of us in the long view.

  5. Wow.
    You summed it up all so simply, suzanne.
    Thank you.
    Unfortunately there are a lot of half-dead children roaming around trying to find a reality that makes sense and creating new life but giving birth to half-dead babies.
    It’s terrifying to think we’re surrounded by the young walking dead who are so unaware of their own lives.

  6. This story shakes me to the core and in the end I really feel awfully for the girl (mother) of the children. If I got pregnant I would be terrified so I can only imagine how she feels. There are so many things about that situation that made that story what it is. I can’t even stand to think of how many children out there in the world are born into such circumstances as this and they didn’t ask for it. It just breaks me in two. I think having a child is the scariest thing in the world and I wonder why nobody else seems to view it as such. I really want to give that girl a hug.

  7. That’s a sad commentary, Dave, but one that is based in an unfortunate current reality — especially in the urban core.
    I also agree the daughter should not be so harshly treated by a system that failed her but that is now seeking its redemption in her prosecution.
    The father, on the other hand, if the allegations are true and DNA testing does not lie, should have to do more than just time if found guilty.
    He should face punishments on all the levels of living as not only an accessory to murder, but the main perpetrator by default as well.
    It’s too bad we can’t punish beyond the death of the body. A 31-foot fall from an air shaft might begin to teach him the taste of blood from his deeds.

  8. Thank you for your fine comment, Robin, and the terror you feel is human and welcome. Was there an extended family? Did the mother take an interest in her daughter? Did she even know her daughter was pregnant?
    There are so many illogical and incomplete thoughts all around this story it’s no wonder so many lives were ruined by the unfortunate circumstance of birth.

  9. As all too often happens… the system ends up punishing those who have already suffered enough torture. This poor young girl, raped by her father, feeling as if she had nowhere to turn. You know, the father could have even been the one to tell her that she needed to handle the situation to “get rid of the evidence.” I wouldn’t put it past a monster like that.
    How horrible. How sad.

  10. You make excellent points, Dave. I was careful to particularize my comment to you by saying “especially in the urban core” so as not to suggest this issue is centered merely in cities. I do think the issue is more prevalent in cities because there is a greater condensation of people and more of an opportunity for chance to turn fate tragic.
    I believe in the Wonder Bread World an air shaft translates into the backyard ditch for body disposal but some suburban baby corpses, I have read, have been found stuffed in plastic containers and shoved to the back of a closet behind the shoes.

  11. Thanks for the comment, Carla, and I certainly concur with your insight into the terrible pressure the situation pressed upon the young woman that resulted in a birth she could not abide as a daily reminder of the shame her life had become and the effect of the monster in that decision cannot be ignored.

  12. Good points all around, Dave.
    Yes, I heard Bennett’s commentary how he believes removing Black babies from the world would result in a lower crime rate.
    Isn’t he the same guy who wrote a book about morality and then gambled away $8 million?

  13. Super, Dave, thanks!
    If, by WP you mean and not WordPerfect :mrgreen: it doesn’t look like the invite was ever sent to you. I’ll go have have it sent again so watch your Inbox.
    Yeah — GO YANKEES! Woo-hoo! It’s gonna be three great days of baseball no matter what but it will be Stevia sweet if the Bronx Boys can just win two more.

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