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New Mexico woman sentenced to 16 years for placing baby in dumpster


A New Mexico woman who left her newborn baby in a dumpster last year was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Monday, prosecutors said.

A jury found Alexis Avila, now 19, guilty of attempted first-degree murder and child abuse in April, NBC affiliate KOB of Albuquerque reported.

Good Samaritans found the baby in Hobbs, a town of around 40,000 in the southeast of the state, after the incident on January 7, 2022. The infant survived.

Avila, who was 18 at the time, told police she did not know she was pregnant until the day before she was due, police said.

“I know what I did was wrong, and the only person I really have to apologize to is my baby,” Avila told the court on Monday, according to video released by KOB.

Avila had faced up to 18 years in prison. The prosecutor, Fifth Judicial District Attorney Dianna Luce, called it a “particularly heinous crime” in a statement.

Passers-by found the newborn after five hours in the dumpster in cold weather, Luce said.

New Mexico law allows people to take babies up to 90 days old to “shelter sites” without being charged with child abandonment.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.