A Cobb County woman allegedly told her ex-boyfriend she put her stillborn baby into her freezer, and he reported it to police.
When investigators arrived at Carol June Sautter’s home, she began to cry hysterically and told officers they couldn’t look in her freezer, according to an incident report obtained Thursday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But officers did look in the freezer, and that’s where the baby boy’s body was found.
It’s not yet known how the baby died or whether he was born alive, the Cobb County Medical Examiner’s office said Wednesday. The autopsy results are still pending.
Investigators believe Sautter, 45, gave birth to the full-term baby between June 7 and June 11, her arrest warrant states. But the boy did not survive.
On June 25, officers conducted a welfare check at Sautter’s Mableton home. Within hours, she was arrested.
“The said accused did not notify law enforcement, medical personnel, the medical examiner's office or coroner of the death,” the arrest warrant states. “Said accused sent text messages to multiple subjects in reference to the child, including photographs of the deceased.”
According to police, the photographs showed the newborn still had a portion of the umbilical cord attached.
On June 26, Sautter was arrested and charged with concealing a death. Sautter, who has no known criminal record, was being held without bond in the Cobb jail.
Conducting autopsies on infants is a difficult task, according to Dr. Jan Gorniak, Fulton County medical examiner. But the baby being frozen could inhibit some findings, she said. As the body thaws, it decomposes quickly, she said. Gorniak is not involved with the Cobb investigation.
"They can probably determine the cause, but babies are difficult,” Gorniak said Thursday. “In a case like this, what they're going to have to determine is whether or not it was stillborn.”
If medical examiners are unable to identify a cause of death, they may be able to determine a manner of death, Gorniak said.
“Even if you don't have a cause, you can still rule it a homicide,” she said.
In other news:
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.