Baby cut out of womb accidentally cremated

Scene of the crime
Scene of the crime
Jeffery Reynolds (Source: LPSO)
Jeffery Reynolds (Source: LPSO)

WALKER, LA (WAFB) - According to the Livingston Parish Coroner, the unborn baby who was cut out of its mother was accidentally cremated Friday.

Just after 11 a.m. Tuesday, emergency officials were called to what they called a gruesome scene on Milton Road in Walker, LA. Investigators say a 28-year-old pregnant woman was cut across the throat and her belly was severed with a kitchen knife. The woman was about seven and a half months pregnant.

Officials say Jeffery Reynolds, 31, the woman's husband, forcibly removed the unborn child from her womb. The woman survived the attack. According to reports, Reynolds was found kneeling over the victim. He was arrested and taken to the Livingston Parish Jail.

Reynolds has been charged with first-degree feticide and second-degree attempted murder.

Deputies said Reynolds was combative during the arrest. A toxicology test was run on Reynolds, but the results have not come in yet.

The coroner says the Livingston Parish Government does not maintain a morgue and has always relied on a private sector funeral home for morgue services. In a statement released by the coroner, they say a funeral home employee mistakenly removed and cremated the baby before an autopsy could be performed.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office along with Louisiana State Police are investigating the details of the cremation and the local district attorney has been notified.

According to the Associated Press, Livingston Parish District Attorney Scott Perrilloux says the cremation voids the possibility of upgrading the feticide count to one of murder. Previously, Perrilloux said that if evidence showed that the unborn baby had begun to breathe before it was killed, that the feticide count may be upgraded to murder.

However, Perrilloux said he believes the current counts against the suspect in the case can still be prosecuted.

Reynolds is being held in the Livingston Parish Jail on a $500,000 bond. The woman's name has not been released.

An investigation into the attack is continuing.

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