N.Y. Woman Allegedly Left Newborn Daughter to Die in Freezing Vacant Lot: 'Barbaric'

Chris Harris

Authorities in New York state have filed a second-degree murder charge against a 22-year-old woman accused of abandoning her baby daughter moments after giving birth to her — leaving the infant out in the cold to die.

The arrest of Nicole Layman of Port Jervis comes more than three months after the body of her newborn girl, Sophia Grace Hadden, was found in a vacant lot near a walking trail in Port Jervis on Nov. 12, 2019, according to a Port Jervis City Police statement.

The baby’s umbilical cord was still attached, according to police.

According to the statement, investigators identified Layman as the child’s mother that same night, but held off on arresting her until critical forensic data was returned that helped medical examiners make a final determination.

The statement says the newborn had been born alive and “that Layman abandoned the baby, in freezing cold temperatures in the vacant lot, where the baby died of exposure.”

Chief William Worden said in the statement that “the grave nature of the crime for which the defendant is accused has emotionally touched all involved in this investigation and our community at large.”

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Layman faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, according to the statement.

“Infants are the most innocent of victims,” Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler says in the statement. “It is hard to comprehend what could drive any mother to kill her own baby by abandoning her in freezing cold conditions in a vacant lot. … Consigning an infant to die of exposure is unnecessary, illegal, and barbaric.”

Layman is being held without bond.

Official records do not list an attorney for her. She will be asked to enter a plea to the charge against her when she goes before a judge Feb. 24.