Mother denies guilt
San Antonio Express-News
Web Posted: 01/21/2010 12:00 CST
By Peter J. Holley -
Ruby Lee Medina says the pills she ingested on the evening of Dec. 6 were supposed to alleviate her heartburn.
The following morning, painful muscle cramps shot through her lower back and abdomen. Within minutes, Medina, 30, noticed splotches of blood had soaked through her pants.
By midday, Medina said, she was violently ill. Sequestered in the bathroom, she recalls going into labor, seeing her 7-month-old fetus pass, calling EMS and then waking up in the hospital.
"I saw him come out of me, but I didn't see him again," Medina said in a recent interview in San Antonio. Seated at a table, with the cremated remains of her child in a box, she continued, "I was scared and crying, and I didn't know what was going on."
Acting on an anonymous tip, authorities said they found the fetus several days later, in a blanket-wrapped gift box under a Christmas tree in Medina's home in San Juan, just east of McAllen.
Medina and Javier Gonzalez, her boyfriend of 10 years and the father of her two children, were charged with abuse of a corpse, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in jail, and evidence tampering, a felony carrying a possible sentence of two to 10 years in prison. She and Gonzalez, 37, both were released from jail last month after posting $20,000 bail. They haven't been charged in connection with the baby's death. Neither Gonzalez nor attorneys for the couple could be reached for comment.
Police Chief Juan Gonzalez said the couple considered burying the fetus and flushing it down the toilet before putting it in the gift box.
Authorities believe Medina was 28 weeks pregnant when her baby was aborted, though she says she was only 21 weeks. Licensed abortion facilities can provide care within 25 weeks of conception, according to state law.
Between the time the fetus was aborted on Dec. 6 and discovered by police four days later, Medina said she remembers little. She blames a combination of Xanax, an anxiety medication, and pain medicine given to her by relatives, for her memory lapse.
"If I had known where the baby was, I would have contacted law enforcement or the hospital," she said. "I was rushed to the hospital needing a blood transfusion. When I got back home, I didn't know what was going on. I could barely speak."
She said the friend who gave her the pills that may be responsible for her baby's death cannot be found.
Her mother, Marina Perez, who lives in San Antonio, said the allegations against her daughter have been hard on the family. Perez said family members have received phone calls threatening violence at their home in San Juan.
"She's a very caring person," she said of her daughter. "She loves being a mother, and she'll do anything for her kids. Anytime she has some extra money, she won't spend any on herself. Everything goes to the children."
Both women said allegations that the boyfriend considered disposing of the fetus in her backyard or that she placed it beneath her Christmas tree are untrue.
"The stuff they're saying is completely crazy," Medina said. "They make me sound like some sort of monster who put her son in a box under the Christmas tree. None of that stuff happened."
The police chief rebutted Medina's claims.
"I was personally there at the house," he said.
He also said witnesses have stepped forward alleging they were called to Medina's house to assist in terminating her pregnancy.
"Her intent was to harm the fetus and try to hide it so that nobody would find it," the chief said.