Original article no longer available
WW4 County 29 Kentucky
Written by Rebecca L. Sandlin
A Carmel mother whose newly-born baby was found floating in a toilet of her parents’ home agreed Thursday to plead guilty to neglect of a dependent.
Kyle C. Peterson, now 21, was 18 years old when she gave birth to Eliza Michelle Peterson while holed up in the bathroom, only letting her mother inside after she had deposited the infant in the toilet. Peterson’s mother took the baby out of the toilet but she was non-responsive by the time paramedics arrived. The baby girl was later resuscitated.
Peterson was initially charged with attempted murder, a Class A felony, as well as neglect. However, a bargain was struck in which prosecutors will dismiss the attempted murder charge, and reduce the Class B felony neglect charge to a less-severe Class C felony. She could face as much as eight years in jail for the charge.
In addition, Hamilton County Prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp said the state will agree to let Peterson serve her sentence in jail or Community Corrections rather than to the Indiana Women’s Prison.
Hamilton Circuit Court Judge Judith Proffitt noted Peterson had no history of juvenile or criminal acts.
However, Peterson and her defense attorney, Robert Hammerle, said she was on medication for bi-polar disorder, a factor that Hammerle said played a role in her actions on Feb. 14, 2005, the day Eliza Michelle was born.
“The defendant’s parents and others suspected she was pregnant, but she denied it,” Leerkamp said.
However, Hammerle said Peterson’s doctor misdiagnosed her mental illness, giving her Prozac for depression.
“The Prozac was enhancing her bi-polar mania and depression, including denying to herself that she was pregnant,” he said. “Had she been on the medication she is now that wouldn’t have happened, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that she did.”
Leerkamp said Eliza Michelle, who now lives with her biological father, “has miraculously done very well,” but added there is some potential of developmental delays later on.
If the judge accepts the plea agreement, Peterson will be sentenced at 9 a.m. Jan. 30.