Mother charged after leaving dead newborn in box in field

Posted at 3:04 PM, March 29, 2023 and last updated 10:17 PM, May 2, 2023

By Madison Goldbeck

WHITEWATER, Wis. (WTMJ) — A woman who is accused of abandoning her dead newborn in a field has been formally charged.

Santos Asucena Caseres Cruz, 39, was charged this week with neglecting a child – consequence is death and move/hide/bury corpse of child.

Stock image of gavel

Getty Images

According to a criminal complaint, police responded to Twin Oaks Trailer Park in Whitewater, Wisconsin for a report of a dead newborn baby on March 4. Officers were led to a cardboard box containing a black garbage bag and a light red cloth. Inside the red cloth was the dead infant. The individuals who called the police said they found the box in a field near the trailer park.

On March 23, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab sent photographs to a Whitewater detective that resulted from forensic imaging of the shipping label on the cardboard box. An address on the box led authorities to “Witness 1”.

The following day, the detective went to Witness 1’s workplace. During an interview, Witness 1 said their father believed their mother, later identified as Caseres Cruz, was pregnant by another man and accused their mother of having an abortion, the complaint says.

During an interview with law enforcement, Caseres Cruz initially denied being pregnant. The complaint says Caseres Cruz said the accusations came from her abusive ex-husband.

Caseres Cruz provided a buccal swab and consented to law enforcement searching her home and car. Special agents with the Department of Criminal Investigations found a black garbage bag, consistent with the bag the infant was found in, in her vehicle.

In a second interview on March 24, the complaint says Caseres Cruz admitted she was previously pregnant and gave birth on Jan. 27. She did not tell her children because she did not want to lose contact with them “because she was pregnant with a different man than their father.”

On Jan. 27, she was having a lot of pain in her stomach and laid in the bathtub. When she gave birth to a baby boy, Caseres Cruz says he was not breathing, moving, or crying. After continuously checking the baby, she placed him and the placenta in a plastic bag. The complaint says she kept the bag open in case the baby started to breathe before hiding the baby under the sink cabinet.

The complaint says she modified her statement, stating she “knew the baby was alive when it was first born, but was possibly choking.” Caseres Cruz allegedly stated after the baby was born, he started getting purple.

“His face started getting purple first, then as the night went on, his body, then his arms, and hands. She never helped the baby,” the complaint reads. Caseres Cruz did not call 911 because she was scared.

When her other children were asleep, she retrieved the baby and placed him in a box on her bed and “cried all night.” Early the next morning she drove to a field near the trailer park and left the baby behind. The complaint says she checked on the box every day and cried.

The Milwaukee Medical Examiner’s Office was unable to determine a cause of death for the infant.

Caseres Cruz was arrested on Friday. She appeared in court Tuesday where a cash bond of $10,000 was set. She will return for a preliminary hearing on April 4. If convicted, she faces a maximum of over 37 years in prison and a $125,000 fine.

This story was originally published March 29, 2023 by WTMJ in Milwaukee, an E.W. Scripps Company.