Thurston County sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday recovered in a yard east of Lacey the remains of an infant who the 16-year-old mother said was stillborn in June.
The mother disclosed the pregnancy Tuesday to a school nurse at River Ridge High School while being seen for an unspecified medical issue. The nurse notified authorities about 11 a.m., sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Greg Elwin said.
Deputies interviewed the girl, which led them to the home of the 16-year-old father in the 7500 block of 12th Avenue Northeast. That’s where the child was buried, Elwin said.
The father learned of the birth the day after it happened, and the two teens “decided the way to handle this was to bury the child,” Elwin said.
“The 16-year-olds were trying to conceal the pregnancy from family and friends,” Elwin added.
There’s no indication anyone else knew about the child, Elwin said.
Detectives interviewed the mother and father, who were released to their parents Tuesday. The mother has said the baby was stillborn at her home.
The baby’s remains were sent to the coroner’s office. The child appears to be female, but the gender has yet to be determined.
Coroner Gary Warnock said the remains will be taken to the King County Medical Examiner’s office, where a forensic anthropologist will try to determine how old the baby was, the time of death, and the cause and manner of death.
The couple could face misdemeanor charges for improper disposal of human remains. If it’s determined the baby was alive at birth, “that will change the direction of our investigation,” Elwin said.