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.