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ELLWOOD CITY More tests to be performed on baby's body



Published: Tue, June 19, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Additional charges could be filed pending more tests on the baby's body.

By LAURE CIOFFI

VINDICATOR NEW CASTLE BUREAU

ELLWOOD CITY, Pa. -- Authorities say they need to conduct more tests today to determine if a newborn found in a wooded area in a plastic bag was stillborn, as its mother says, or born alive.

An autopsy Monday was inconclusive because decomposition had set in, said Matthew Mangino, Lawrence County district attorney.

The full-term infant boy's body was discovered Sunday evening in the woods behind 502 Argonne Boulevard by Ellwood City police after they received an anonymous tip.

Criminal investigators from the Pennsylvania State Police in New Castle were called in after the body was discovered.

Mangino said interviews with people living on Argonne Boulevard led police to the newborn's mother, Cathleen Winterbottom, 19, an employee at the Ellwood City Ledger, and to Jason Wilds, 23, who works at an Ellwood City car dealership, both of 215 Portersville Road, Ellport. Police said Wilds is Winterbottom's boyfriend.

In jail: Both are in Lawrence County Jail on $100,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing June 27. They each face charges of concealing the death of a child, conspiracy to conceal the death of a child, abuse of a corpse and conspiracy to abuse a corpse.

It's unclear if Wilds was the infant's father.

Police said the baby was found behind the home where Winterbottom's mother, Darlene Winterbottom, and her mother's boyfriend, Mike Viccari, live at 502 Argonne Blvd.

Viccari and a neighbor, Brian Plavecsky, told police that they knew Cathleen Winterbottom was pregnant, but she refused to admit it, says an affidavit filed to support the charges.

Plavecsky said he questioned Viccari about the baby after seeing Winterbottom, who no longer appeared pregnant, last week, the affidavit says. Viccari said he didn't know anything about the baby's whereabouts, police said.

Said baby was dead: When police interviewed Cathleen Winterbottom, she said the baby was stillborn in her apartment June 10. She said she wrapped the child in a towel and plastic bag and later put it in a closet of a spare room.

Police said Wilds also admitted he was there June 10 and said the baby appeared to be dead after the birth. He told police he put the body in a plastic garbage bag and they took the baby to the wooded area on Argonne Boulevard later that day.

The district attorney was scheduled to meet with forensic pathologist Dr. Karl Williams and Pennsylvania State Police later today to determine if additional charges will be filed.

Mangino said they were waiting for test results on tissue samples taken Monday that could determine if the child was stillborn or alive.




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