A Cobb County woman panicked after delivering a stillborn baby in her home, so she put the tiny body in her freezer, her attorney told a judge Tuesday afternoon.
The cause of death for the baby boy hasn’t been determined and investigators say because his body was frozen, it could be impossible to know for sure if he was stillborn.
“She was a little bit in shock,” Noah Pines, a defense attorney, told the court. “She just lost a lot of blood and she passed out.”
After delivering the baby, Carol Sautter didn’t call the police, according to investigators. Instead, she text messaged the baby’s father and told him the boy had not survived. She also sent him a picture of the body in her freezer. The baby’s father, her former boyfriend, called police.
Sautter, 45, has been in jail two months following her arrest June 26 on charges of concealing a death. On Tuesday, Magistrate Judge Gerald Moore granted Sautter $30,000 bond and ordered her to undergo a mental evaluation within 20 days of being released from jail.
Prosecutor Chuck Boring asked the judge to deny bond. But Moore said Sautter would not get the mental help she needs while in jail. Additionally, Sautter has no prior criminal record.
“She needs to make sure that she steers clear of anyone involved in this investigation,” Moore said.
Sautter nodded her head. She is also prohibited from having contact with any children under the age of 16. Sautter has no other children.
Investigators believe Sautter gave birth to the full-term baby between June 7 and June 11, her arrest warrant states.
After receiving a tip from the baby’s father that a newborn had died, officers went to Sautter’s home in Mableton on June 25, but she refused to let them inside, Boring said Thursday. When police returned to the home later the same day with search warrants, Sautter and the baby’s body were gone, Boring said. The body was later found in a freezer at an automotive shop and Sautter was arrested, he said.
The Cobb Medical Examiner’s Office was unable to determine during the initial autopsy how the baby died or whether he had been born alive. Additional tests have been performed to determine a cause of death, but the results are not complete.
“The freezing process is the worst thing that can happen for an autopsy,” Boring said. “Anything we get is going to be hindered because of what she did.”
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