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Missouri woman drowned newborn son in toilet after giving birth to him inside meat plant restroom: Police

Makuya Stephanie Kambamba committed the crime at the Smithfield Foods plant, where she worked
UPDATED MAY 16, 2020
Makuya Stephanie Kambamba (Sullivan County Sheriff's Office)
Makuya Stephanie Kambamba (Sullivan County Sheriff's Office)

MILAN, MISSOURI: A Missouri mother has been arrested and charged after police said she drowned her newborn baby in the toilet after giving birth.

Court documents filed by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and obtained by KUTV, state that the crime happened in the restroom at the Smithfield Foods plant in Milan, Missouri, where the mother, 28-year-old Makuya Stephanie Kambamba, worked.

Investigators said that Kambamba, of Kirksville, knowingly allowed her son to drown in a toilet where she had given birth on May 6, 2020. She reportedly admitted as much to officers and said she saw the infant moving as he was face down in the toilet water after he came out.

The 28-year-old said she then sat back down on the toilet because she had major labor contractions and did not check on her son until approximately 30 minutes later when a Smithfield nurse entered the restroom to check on her.

An autopsy conducted on the child also revealed evidence consistent with a drowning victim and Kambamba was subsequently arrested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Kirksville Police Department and the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, and charged with first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the death.

She is also facing charges of first-degree involuntary manslaughter, second-degree involuntary manslaughter, and abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death, and was processed on Friday, May 15, at the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office in Milan.

She was then transported to the Daviess/DeKalb Regional Jail in Pattonsburg, Missouri, where she is currently being held without bond.

MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) had previously reported on a similar case where a newborn baby had been found dead in a trash can inside a restroom at an Amazon distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Phoenix Police had said they had received reports of the newborn baby found in a trash can at the facility, located near 51st Avenue and W. Lower Buckeye Road, but that it was already beyond the point of resuscitation by the time first responders from the Phoenix Fire Department arrived at the scene.

That infant's death, as well as that of Kambamba's, could have been avoided considering both Missouri and Arizona have Safe Haven Law which allows unwitting parents to safely hand off their children until they are up to three days old. In fact, a 'Baby Safe Haven' law is in effect in every state in the country and, while the law details vary from state to state, any parent can hand over the infant without fear of arrest or prosecution as long as the baby has not been harmed or abused.

"You can leave your baby, up to 3 days old, with an on-duty staff member at any hospital, emergency medical service provider, fire station or with any licensed private child welfare agency, licensed adoption agency or any church in Arizona," a statement of the Safe Haven website read.

The law also has a provision which means the parents don't have to be the ones dropping off the baby. It allows for "any responsible adult" such as a family member, a friend, a priest or minister, or even a social worker to hand the child over. Many hospitals even have special drawers where the parent can leave the babies without having to interact with anyone.