Teen is sentenced to 16 years after throwing baby in dumpster in near-freezing temperatures

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By Phoebe Egoroff

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A teenager has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after throwing her newborn baby in a dumpster in near-freezing temperatures.

The New Mexico woman - who was identified as 19-year-old Alexis Avila - was sentenced on Monday this week (May 1) for attempting to commit first-degree murder and abuse of a child, per NBC News.

Avila reportedly told the police that she did not know she was pregnant until the day before she gave birth. "I know what I did was wrong, and the only person I truly need to apologize to is my baby," she said in court this week.

After giving birth in Hobbs (a city of around 40,000 in southeastern New Mexico) on January 7, 2022, Avila placed the baby in a dumpster - where it lay for five hours in freezing temperatures before being discovered by good samaritans. Fortunately, the baby survived.

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Police revealed that Avila had told them she didn't know she was pregnant until the day before she gave birth. Credit: simon leigh / Alamy

Albuquerque news outlet KOB reported that Avila had been facing up to 18 years in prison, meaning that her 16-year sentence was almost the maximum she could receive.

The court heard statements from the prosecuting team - which were brief but commented on Avila's apparent "lack of emotion" during her trial. At the same time, her defense stated that her mental health and eligibility for rehab could call for a shorter, six-year sentence, per KOB.

Avila made a statement, expressing remorse for how she handled her newborn. "He will always have it in the back of his head that I don't love him but I still do. Me doing this took away from my parents and family getting to love him. I still don't understand how I did this as I don't think it reflects who I am, but I am truly sorry," she said.

In a statement following the sentencing, prosecutor Fifth Judicial District Attorney Dianna Luce called it "an especially heinous crime" in a statement. She added that the sentencing meant Avila received "a just punishment for committing this crime against an innocent newborn" and that "this sentence is a warning to all who would try to kill innocent children that you will be held accountable."

Currently, the New Mexico Safe Haven for Infants Act allows people to take babies up to 90 days old to "safe haven sites" without being charged with child abandonment. According to the state's Children, Youth & Families Department "you can bring your baby, up to 90 days old, to any Safe Haven site in New Mexico without fear of being criminally charged for child abandonment."

"To be covered by the law," it continues, "you must notify somebody you are leaving an infant. YOU CANNOT LEAVE YOUR BABY ALONE."

Safe Haven sites can be any staffed hospital, law enforcement agency, or fire station. The law also states that staff or volunteers at the Safe Haven site "may request basic information about you and your child to help the Children, Youth & Families Department find an appropriate placement for your infant." They may also offer support such as counseling or other services, however, there is no requirement for a person to provide information or receive services.

It is unclear whether Avila was aware of these laws at the time.

Featured image credit: Buddy Mays / Alamy

Teen is sentenced to 16 years after throwing baby in dumpster in near-freezing temperatures

vt-author-image

By Phoebe Egoroff

Article saved!Article saved!

A teenager has been sentenced to 16 years in prison after throwing her newborn baby in a dumpster in near-freezing temperatures.

The New Mexico woman - who was identified as 19-year-old Alexis Avila - was sentenced on Monday this week (May 1) for attempting to commit first-degree murder and abuse of a child, per NBC News.

Avila reportedly told the police that she did not know she was pregnant until the day before she gave birth. "I know what I did was wrong, and the only person I truly need to apologize to is my baby," she said in court this week.

After giving birth in Hobbs (a city of around 40,000 in southeastern New Mexico) on January 7, 2022, Avila placed the baby in a dumpster - where it lay for five hours in freezing temperatures before being discovered by good samaritans. Fortunately, the baby survived.

wp-image-1263209775 size-full
Police revealed that Avila had told them she didn't know she was pregnant until the day before she gave birth. Credit: simon leigh / Alamy

Albuquerque news outlet KOB reported that Avila had been facing up to 18 years in prison, meaning that her 16-year sentence was almost the maximum she could receive.

The court heard statements from the prosecuting team - which were brief but commented on Avila's apparent "lack of emotion" during her trial. At the same time, her defense stated that her mental health and eligibility for rehab could call for a shorter, six-year sentence, per KOB.

Avila made a statement, expressing remorse for how she handled her newborn. "He will always have it in the back of his head that I don't love him but I still do. Me doing this took away from my parents and family getting to love him. I still don't understand how I did this as I don't think it reflects who I am, but I am truly sorry," she said.

In a statement following the sentencing, prosecutor Fifth Judicial District Attorney Dianna Luce called it "an especially heinous crime" in a statement. She added that the sentencing meant Avila received "a just punishment for committing this crime against an innocent newborn" and that "this sentence is a warning to all who would try to kill innocent children that you will be held accountable."

Currently, the New Mexico Safe Haven for Infants Act allows people to take babies up to 90 days old to "safe haven sites" without being charged with child abandonment. According to the state's Children, Youth & Families Department "you can bring your baby, up to 90 days old, to any Safe Haven site in New Mexico without fear of being criminally charged for child abandonment."

"To be covered by the law," it continues, "you must notify somebody you are leaving an infant. YOU CANNOT LEAVE YOUR BABY ALONE."

Safe Haven sites can be any staffed hospital, law enforcement agency, or fire station. The law also states that staff or volunteers at the Safe Haven site "may request basic information about you and your child to help the Children, Youth & Families Department find an appropriate placement for your infant." They may also offer support such as counseling or other services, however, there is no requirement for a person to provide information or receive services.

It is unclear whether Avila was aware of these laws at the time.

Featured image credit: Buddy Mays / Alamy