University of Illinois student facing first degree murder charge in death of newborn

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CHAMPAIGN - In an update to a story WAND brought you last month, the Champaign County State's Attorney's Office has filed charges against a woman in connection with the death of a newborn baby on March 13.

Lindsay Johnson, 20, faces charges of first-degree murder, child endangerment, and concealment following a University of Illinois Police Department investigation into the death of her newborn son on March 13. She was arrested Monday on a $750,000 bond.

In a Thursday afternoon arraignment hearing, Johnson pleaded not guilty to the charges against her and was released. She is scheduled to return to court May 3 at 11 a.m. for a pre-trial hearing.

University of Illinois Police say officers were dispatched to Bousfield Hall on March 13 to check on a student, later identified as Johnson, who had been in the bathroom for several hours.  Officers say they spoke with Johnson, who said she was ill but did not need assistance.  Authorities say officers were called to the dorm once again on March 13 after a witness reported hearing what sounded like a baby crying.

University police say officers found blood in the bathroom, and that Johnson had allegedly left the building before officers arrived.  Johnson was found on campus later that afternoon, and officers brought her to the University of Illinois Police Department, where police say Johnson told them she had given birth to a baby, and the location of the baby's body.

U of I police say Johnson reported not knowing she was pregnant until she started giving birth, and that the child wasn't breathing when he was born.  Police say Johnson then said the baby was born alive when officers told her that a witness had heard the child cry.  

In a news release from the Champaign County State's Attorney's Office, University police also say Johnson allegedly told officers that she had tried to quiet the baby by covering his mouth, and that she allegedly hid the baby's body under her bed when officers initially checked on her welfare.

According to a preliminary determination from Forensic Pathologist Dr. Shiping Bao, the baby was born alive, and that there was nothing in the physical autopsy to explain the baby's death.  The Champaign County State's Attorney's Office also says a forensic analysis of Johnson's phone allegedly shows a history of searches made for information on pregnancy, pregnancy symptoms, miscarriage, home abortions, and how to manage physical signs of pregnancy after the loss of a baby.

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