Prosecutors delay as police press for charges in the intentional killing of a baby born alive during an abortion

Hialeah, FL — Last July, a 22-week baby, who was born alive at a Hialeah, Florida, abortion clinic, was shoved into a trash bag and tossed onto the clinic’s roof to die. (Learn more.) Police discovered the remains of a baby girl, Shanice Denise Osbourne, after an informant tipped them to the location of the body. An autopsy confirmed that Shanice was born alive. Nine months later, charges have yet to be filed in the bizarre case that even police believe should be prosecuted as a homicide.
“Once a baby is born alive, he or she is entitled to all the same protections and treatment that any other person deserves. Intentionally killing, or depriving such a baby of medical care is against the law,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.
Developments in the case have come slowly. In February, Belkis Gonzalez, the woman identified as the one who cut Shanice’s umbilical cord and swept her into a plastic bag, was arrested on other charges related to illegal late-term abortions at another abortion clinic located in Miramar.
Last week, her associate, Siomara Senises, who assisted Gonzalez during Shanice’s birth, surrendered to authorities and was also booked in the Miramar case. Hope rose that the pair, neither of which have medical licenses, would also be charged in the death of Shanice Osbourne, but that has yet to happen.
The delay centers on the question of viability. At 22-weeks gestation, the Miami-Dade medical examiner indicated that Shanice had virtually no chance of survival, therefore did not rule her death a homicide. Prosecutors have been hesitant to move forward with the case because Shanice was born in the process of an abortion.
“It doesn’t matter if Shanice had a 100 percent or a zero percent chance of survival. Once she was born, she was deserving of the same protections under the law as the rest of us,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “At the minimum, she should have been given comfort care. Shoving her into a plastic bag and tossing her onto a roof to die is just unconscionable.”
Those with the authority to prosecute the Hialeah homicide case need to hear that there is public concern for the lack of progress in bringing Shanice’s killers to justice.
“Cases like this are sticky wickets for prosecutors who often would rather everyone just forget about them,” said Newman. “Once they know there are eyes on the case, they are more likely to move forward. And this case must move forward, otherwise it sends a message that further devalues life. ‘Justice delayed is justice denied,’ and that saying has never been more true than in this tragic situation.”
UPDATE! Thanks so much to everyone who called! After being flooded with phone calls, the Florida Attorney General’s office called and informed us that the way the laws of Florida are set up, they have no jurisdiction in the Hialeah homicide case. They appreciate everyone’s concern and have provided us with a contact that does have jurisdiction in this matter.
Ed Griffiths
Public Informaion Officer for State Attorney, Miami-Dade County
Voice: 305-547-0100