W. Pa. woman in baby mystery had cut uterus

July 19, 2008 1:59:50 PM PDT
The autopsy on the woman involved in a baby mystery showed partial evisceration that included her uterus being cut, authorities said Saturday. The body was found Friday in a Wilkinsburg apartment of another woman who showed up at a hospital with a newborn she falsely claimed was hers.

The body "was in a state of moderate decomposition" and appeared to have been dead for about two days before it was found, Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl Williams said in a statement Saturday.

The woman's hands and feet were bound with duct tape, and her face was covered with a plastic material that had also been secured with duct tape. A placenta was recovered at the apartment.

The medical office would not elaborate on what was meant by "evidence of partial evisceration that included opening of the uterus."

Pathologist Cyril Wecht, who previously served as the county's coroner, said evisceration means to cut into the abdomen and remove organs and tissues. "Obviously, they did so to get to the baby," he said.

Investigators were trying to determine the woman's identity, how she died and whether she was the mother of the baby that Andrea Curry-Demus, 38, of Wilkinsburg, a suburb just east of Pittsburgh, allegedly told police she obtained for $1,000.

The body was found Friday after reporters called authorities about a foul odor coming from inside Curry-Demus' apartment. Police had been at the building Thursday night, but did not go into that apartment, Wilkinsburg Police Chief Ophelia Coleman said. Instead, a relative of Curry-Demus led them to another apartment, she said.

The mystery began when Curry-Demus showed up at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh on Thursday with a newborn that still had its umbilical cord attached, police said. Tests later proved she was not the mother - despite her claims to the contrary, police said.

Curry-Demus told police she miscarried in June and didn't want to upset her own mother by telling her she had lost the baby. Curry-Demus said she befriended a pregnant woman and discussed buying her child when it was born, according to the criminal complaint. Curry-Demus told police she paid a woman named Tina $1,000 for the baby.

Curry-Demus was charged with child endangerment and dealing in infant children. She has been jailed until she posts $10,000 bond and undergoes a psychiatric exam.

It wasn't clear if she had an attorney.

Stephanie Epps, 41, the suspect's sister-in-law, said she had doubted Curry-Demus was pregnant.

"I just had a feeling that she wasn't pregnant," Epps said Friday night, as onlookers gathered at Curry-Demus' apartment while authorities waited to get a search warrant and remove the body. "She would never let you touch her stomach and pregnant women let you do that."

Ivee Blunt, a neighbor who also was at a shower for Curry-Demus said she wanted her in the delivery room when she delivered.

Blunt said Curry-Demus told her on Sunday night that she expected to have the baby the next day; but on Monday, she said, Curry-Demus told her she wasn't ready to give birth.

In 1990, Curry-Demus, then known as Andrea Curry, was accused of stabbing a Wilkinsburg woman in an alleged plot to steal the woman's infant.

A day after the stabbing, Curry-Demus snatched a 3-week-old baby girl from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, according to court records reviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The baby was in the hospital to be treated for meningitis and the girl's 16-year-old mother had gone home for the night when Curry-Demus took the child, court records state. The baby was found unharmed with Curry-Demus at her home the next day.

Curry-Demus pleaded guilty in 1991 to various charges stemming from both incidents and was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison. She was paroled in August 1998 and began serving a 10-year probation term, the Tribune-Review reported.