A 13-year-old girl whose stillborn son was found stashed in a friend's attic in Michigan's Thumb area may have been impregnated by a 16-year-old male relative, authorities said.
A petition filed in Huron County Circuit Court's Family Division charging the boy with third-degree criminal sexual conduct lists him and the girl as living at the same address and sharing the same last name, Sheriff Kelly Hanson said Wednesday.
The boy was arraigned Tuesday and ordered to have no contact with the girl in a case that has disturbed some in this small village along the shores of Lake Huron near the entrance to Saginaw Bay.
"I have been trying not to make a bad thing even worse by elaborating on the relationship," Hanson told The Associated Press in an e-mail. " ... I will verify they are related but I won't elaborate on how."
The boy was questioned late Saturday night by deputies after the girl earlier complained of being ill and went to a local medical facility for treatment.
Doctors called authorities after determining the girl was pregnant. She gave them the boy's name and he told police they were involved in an "incident" last summer, according to Hanson.
Further tests revealed the girl already had given birth. A search quickly was launched for the child and led deputies to a home in nearby Port Hope where the girl had been staying for a few days.
At 5:25 a.m. Sunday, the infant's body was found in an attic area. Adults in the home didn't realize the infant's body was there until police found it. An autopsy this week determined the child had been stillborn.
The girl had kept her pregnancy a secret.
It was not immediately clear if the boy knew the girl was pregnant, and he was not present at the time she gave birth, according to the sheriff.
The case has made for lots of talk at the Four Seasons Cafe along Main Street in the tiny village of 372 people, and is not the type of news that comes out of the community popular for its numerous lakefront resort cottages and the walleye, salmon, perch and bass taken by anglers from the waters.
"It spread by word of mouth," said Bernadine Marsh, Four Seasons owner and local chamber president. "It has been pretty devastating to the community. You just think that this happens in the big city, not a small town."
About 110 miles north of Detroit, Port Hope is small enough that most people know everyone else. And it wasn't long before the suspected identities of the boy and girl were being whispered around town.
"It's just the tragedy of it," she said.