The Craigslist pregnant murder arrest of 34-year-old suspect Dynel Catrece Lane, who is accused of having lured 7-month-pregnant Michelle Wilkins with a Craigslist ad for baby clothes and then committed murder of the unborn baby, is reminiscent of a “SVU” episode in which a judge had to decide whether the killing of an unborn baby can be considered murder or not.
According to a CNN report on March 19, prosecutors cannot really charge suspect Lane with murder if it is uncertain whether the baby lived after it was cut from its mother’s womb.
“Under Colorado law, essentially, there’s no way murder charges can be brought if it’s not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother for some period of time. I don’t know the answer yet as to whether that can be established, what our facts are here,” said Boulder County District Attorney Stanley L. Garnett on Thursday.
The suspect, Dynel Catrece Lane, was arrested on Wednesday on a number of felony charges including attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault and child abuse knowingly/reckless resulting in death. Whether she can be charged with the murder of a 7-month-old fetus is still uncertain.
As reported by Fox 31 Denver, Lane placed an ad on Craigslist for baby clothes under the name “D” or “Dynel.” When 26-year-old pregnant Michelle Wilkins showed up at Lane’s home in Longmont, Colorado, just before noon on Wednesday, she was stabbed in the stomach and her baby was taken from her. When police arrived at Lane’s home at 2:40 p.m. after having received a 911 call from Wilkins, they found her on a bed, beaten and stabbed in the stomach, going in and out of consciousness being barely able to speak.
A search of Lane’s home by police revealed a 3-inch blade under the bed and bloody towels in the washing machine. Wilkins was taken to Longmont United Hospital where she underwent surgery and is expected to recover.
The fate of Wilkins’ unborn baby was unknown until it was discovered that another woman, Dynel Lane, had gone to the emergency room at Longmont United Hospital with a dead baby. Reportedly, Dynel Lane’s husband, 35-year-old David Ridley, had come home early from work and found his wife all covered in blood. Dynel told her husband that she had a miscarriage and when he checked the bathroom, he found the baby in the upstairs bathtub. According to the police report, “he rubbed the baby slightly then rolled it over to … see it take a gasping breath.”
David Ridley wrapped the baby in a towel, and unaware that its mother was bleeding somewhere else inside the house, drove his wife and the baby to the emergency room of Longmont United Hospital. David Ridley has not been charged with any crime. Whether his wife was pregnant as she had everyone believe is still part of an ongoing investigation. In July 2002, she reportedly lost a 19-month-old son after an accidental drowning in a decorative pond while she was married to another man. Dynel Lane held a certified nurse’s aide credential from 2010 until 2012, and the precision cut with which the baby was removed from Wilkins’ body indicates that someone had some experience or at least some knowledge of doing cesarean births.
The Craigslist pregnant murder case has prompted Longmont Police to reach out to anyone who might have also responded to a Craigslist ad for baby clothes, posted by “D” or “Dynel,” or who might have also traveled to Dynel Lane’s home on Green Place in Longmont. Police are asking for anyone with more information to call (303) 651-8523. Whether or not the death of Wiklins’ unborn baby can be called “murder” will be up to the Supreme Court. As Boulder County District Attorney Stanley L. Garnett said on Thursday, “the Supreme Court and the court of appeals will get to tell us that eventually. The law is not, as in many areas, terribly clear in terms of that.”