Victoria’s Secret ‘thief’ faces homicide charge
The dead baby boy found shoved in the bag of a Herald Square Victoria’s Secret shoplifting suspect died of asphyxiation soon after being born alive at full term, law-enforcement sources told The Post on Friday.
The grisly findings mean that the the baby’s mother, 17-year-old Tiona Rodriguez of Brooklyn, now faces homicide charges on top of the shoplifting rap she’d originally been busted on, a source said, as the teen awaited arraignment at Manhattan Criminal Court.
Rodriguez has a two-year-old son at home and has been in custody since Thursday afternoon, when a security guard stopped her as she allegedly looted lingerie from the flagship store at 34th Street and Broadway.
The guard held Rodriguez and her companion, Francis Estevez, until police came and made the horrific discovery by looking in the foul-smelling bag while they waited, a source said.
The boy’s tiny corpse was clean, as if he had been washed — or drowned, one source noted. But the smell emanating from it led cops to believe the baby had been dead for more than 24 hours.
A preliminary examination has determined that the boy had been born alive and found no signs of external trauma, sources said.
Rodriguez had told police that she had a miscarriage, a source said.
“She said she had the baby yesterday,” another source said. “She said it was not full-term. She said she didn’t know what to do with it.”
Rodriguez, who lives in the Marcy Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant, was taken to Bellevue Hospital for evaluation, and remained there Friday afternoon, sources said.
The gruesome news of the baby’s remains shocked shoppers at the chain store.
“It makes me feel sick. I don’t understand the thought process, to have a baby in a bag and then shoplift,” said Erit Maor, a 27-year-old graduate student from Forest Hills.
“I think it’s very strange that they didn’t shut down the store. I feel a level of disrespect,” she added.
Maor said it was business as usual in the store, adding that she didn’t even realize that the macabre discovery had taken place.
“You wouldn’t know anything had happened if you were in there. You would think it would look like a crime scene,” she said. “I’ve never heard of anything like this.”
Other stunned shoppers believed mental illness played a role.
“I think it’s crazy. It’s a newborn baby in a bag. I just had a baby a month ago and I’m shocked,” said Jazmin Barrett, 24, a hostess from The Bronx. “She needs some psychological help.”
Yvonne Sonera, 44, a student from Jamaica, Queens, agreed.
“That’s horrible. She must be going through a big depression. She’s not well,” Sonera said. “I’m surprised that could happen here with that many people around.”
Another shopper, Angelica Vera, 16, of Manhattan, said, “It’s kind of shocking. She didn’t do anything about it. She should have talked to her parents or gone to the hospital.”