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Mom jailed in baby's death

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    LARRY NEFF/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Police arrested Tara Lynne Paltanavage of Middleport after disposing of her dead baby in a trash bag at this home at 189 Winfield Drive.
Published August 06. 2014 04:00PM

On July 29, a heavily pregnant Tara Lynne Paltanavage went into the bathroom of the Blythe Township home she shared with two other people.

As she sat down to urinate, her water broke.

The 22-year-old woman climbed into the bathtub, turned on the shower, and gave birth to a girl, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper John Powis of the Frackville barracks.

She lifted the newborn out of the water and saw that she wasn't breathing. Checking for a pulse, Paltanavage found none.

So she wrapped the baby in a red towel, and took her into her bedroom.

She didn't try to revive the baby, nor did she call for help.

Instead, according to the affidavit, she put the baby in a garbage bag, put the bag on a bench in her room and put household trash on top of her baby.

Then she took the bag outside to be taken away with the trash.

At about 1 a.m. Tuesday, Paltanavage's housemates at the Middleport home, Kayla Stoops and Joseph Jiminez, took the trash out for pickup.

A week later, smelling a terrible odor from the bag Paltanavage had put out on July 29, they discovered the baby's body.

Stoops and Jiminez called 911.

Schuylkill County Coroner Dr. David J. Moylan said this morning that an autopsy showed the baby appeared to have been born alive.

The coroner said the body was too badly decomposed to immediately determine a cause and manner of death.

Moylan said the microscopic and toxicology results will take a month to complete.

When state police at Frackville were notified of the discovery of the body Tuesday, they went to the house and spoke with all three people involved.

They learned that Paltanavage appeared to have been pregnant for several months, gaining weight and having morning sickness.

But she denied being pregnant.

Later that day, police interviewed Paltanavage at the barracks.

There, she admitted denying the pregnancy to both Stoops and Jiminez as well as to her fiance, Shane Stoops.

She then admitted to having given birth in the bathroom and disposing of her baby girl's body in the trash.

Police charged Paltanavage with endangering the welfare of children, concealing the death of a child, recklessly endangering another person, and abuse of a corpse.

She was arraigned before District Judge David Plachko of Port Carbon and jailed under $250,000.

Wednesday morning, a woman who answered the door at the house where Paltanavage lived declined to comment.

The small, ramshackle house had signs of other children. A child's quilt with a bear hung in a window above the front door. A black toy riding truck and a pink chair were in the yard.

An air conditioner hummed in the window.

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