Mother of baby abandoned in Dorchester trash can charged with attempted murder

A woman arrested for allegedly abandoning her newborn in a Dorchester trash can is being charged with attempted murder and reckless endangerment — but the tiny boy has survived the ordeal.

Marie Merisier, 33, was held on $100,000 cash bail after appearing in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court Monday.

Merisier was working in a 73-year-old man’s home in Dorchester Friday when, the man said, she went into the bathroom for an extended period of time, a prosecutor said. She came out and the man “heard the newborn crying inside” her “leather bag,” the DA’s office said.

She allegedly declined an ambulance, the DA added, and left. The man called 911.

Luckily, Good Samaritan Silvana Sanchez was walking by Pat’s Pizza — about 200 feet from that apartment — when she heard cries coming from a trash barrel. She flagged EMS for help and that’s when the newborn baby boy was found.

First responders on call from an incident down the road quickly investigated and discovered the child in the trash can in a double-knotted plastic bag. They rushed the infant to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The child is said to be in good condition and with a temporary foster home under the watch of the state Department of Children and Families.

“It is because of all of these swift actions that this beautiful newborn is alive and now hopefully able to thrive,” Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said. “I had the opportunity to briefly visit the baby on Saturday and was so happy to see nurses pampering, spoiling and singing to, feeding and generally pouring love and affection into this beautiful child.”

The DA said video footage obtained by authorities shows Merisier reaching into her leather handbag to dispose of the plastic bag in the trash barrel. Merisier told police she did not believe the child was alive after delivery, according to court testimony.

Merisier speaks only Haitian and had been living in Milton. She has no relatives in the area, and is unlikely able to afford bail — leading defense attorneys to argue that she was essentially being held without bail.

Massachusetts’ “Baby Safe Haven Law” says “voluntary abandonment” of a baby 7 days old or younger to a hospital, police department or manned fire station doesn’t in itself count as abuse or neglect, and it doesn’t automatically waive parental rights.

The law was created in 2004 with the hope it would prevent these situations.

Mike Morrisey, director of Baby Safe Haven New England, said he’s looking to improve outreach in Boston, especially after this case.

“We’re working all the time to get information to people before they get into this kind of crisis,” Morrisey said, adding he fears new arrivals — especially immigrants — don’t know help is available.

“We need to look at what happened Friday and see how we can get into that channel,” he said. Stay tuned, he added, Boston is where his group will “ramp up” the focus.

Joe Dwinell and Sean Cotter contributed to this report.





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