Ice hampers search for teen mom's body

January 22, 2008 4:44:24 PM PST
Police have halted their search in the Pennsauken Creek for 17-year-old Felicia Mikels.

The search was stopped when divers had trouble getting through a layer of ice.

The search for Mikels was to resume Wednesday.

It's believed that Mikels was beaten to death early Saturday. Her 5-week-old baby was found abandoned near a Cherry Hill home hours later.

Twenty-five-year-old Douglas Mandichak and 26-year-old Christopher Mikels, the victim's uncle, are charged in connection with her murder. Mikels says he may be the baby's father.

Both men made their first court appearance on Tuesday morning. Mandichak is charged with luring Mikels and then beating her to death with a piece of wood. His bail was set at one million dollars. Christopher Mikels is charged as an accomplice. His bail was set at $750,000.

Mikels left her Pennsauken house on Friday evening with her five-week-old daughter. At 1:00 Saturday morning when Mikels didn't come home, her family reported her missing to police. At 7:00 a.m. the infant, Miciana Ramos, was found bundled in a car seat on a Cherry Hill lawn by passerby. Mikels family saw the report of the abandoned baby on television and before long police drew the connection.

Camden County prosecutor Jos Ottenberg said Felicia Mikels was lured first to a bowling alley and then to a parking lot where she was beaten to death. Authorities say the motive for the murder was money.

The prosecutor says the two suspects talked about throwing the infant into a creek, but did not.

The baby is now being cared for by a foster family. A hearing on who should care for the child in the future is scheduled for Wednesday.