The Milwaukee woman accused of killing a pregnant mother and slicing out the fetus in hopes of passing the baby off as her own had miscarried twice in the past four years, her boyfriend told investigators in a report released Thursday.
Jose R. Chaidez-Montenegro, 30, told authorities he and his girlfriend had been together for four years and had been trying to have a baby. He said 33-year-old Annette Morales-Rodriguez miscarried twice, once in the early stages of the pregnancy and once after about five months.
Morales-Rodriguez is charged in the deaths last week of the young mother and the baby. She faces a maximum penalty of two life sentences.
Prosecutors say Morales-Rodriguez was desperate to give her boyfriend a son, but after she was unable to conceive she lied and told him she was pregnant. She planned to "find a pregnant woman and take the baby and make it hers," the criminal complaint said.
She is accused of killing 23-year-old Maritza Ramirez-Cruz. Prosecutors say the suspect lured the young mother of three into her car Thursday, took her to the suspect's home, beat her with a baseball bat and cut her full-term fetus from her womb. The mother and baby both died.
Morales-Rodriguez was being held on $1 million bail. Her public defender did not immediately return a message Thursday.
The boyfriend and Morales-Rodriguez were informed about six months ago that she was pregnant, according to the report released by the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office. He said he wanted to know the gender and approximate due date but his girlfriend never could seem to find out the information.
However, the suspect told investigators she didn't know she was pregnant. Morales-Rodriguez, who has three children between the ages of 6 and 13, also denied any previous miscarriages, according to the report.
Funerals for Ramirez-Cruz and the baby, who would have been named Yadier Omar, are scheduled for Friday.
The victim's husband, Christian Mercado, has said the killer took away a good wife, a dear friend and a caring mother of three. His sister-in-law translated for Mercado, a Spanish-speaker who brought his family to Wisconsin from Arecibo, Puerto Rico in the last year or so.
"We were hoping to grow old together, raise our kids together, watch them grow up," said Mercado, 28, his sister-in-law translating his Spanish. "Now, the family ... I don't know what to tell you."
Dinesh Ramde can be reached at dramde(at)ap.org.