TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A Toledo couple accused of leaving a baby's body inside a freezer faced a judge for the first time Monday morning.
Kenisha Pruitt, 20, and Antonio Cervantes, 18, remain in the Lucas County Jail on a $1 million bond each. They were arraigned in Toledo Municipal Court Monday morning.
Pruitt and Cervantes are each charged with child endangering in connection with the body of an infant found in a freezer over the weekend.
Police said a landlord who was cleaning out a home Friday on Paine Avenue in east Toledo discovered the infant's body. The infant was wrapped in a garbage bag and was frozen solid. It appeared to be about the size of a full-term baby.
Court documents said Pruitt and Cervantes had lived together in the home since November 2011 and were in the process of moving out. The documents said family members believed Pruitt was pregnant when the couple moved into the home. However, no birth was reported.
Pruitt and Cervantes are listed as parents on the birth certificate of a girl born in February 2011. The 14 month old is currently staying with family while her parents remain in jail.
Both Pruitt and Cervantes are scheduled to be back in court for a preliminary hearing in one week.
The coroner's office said it is still waiting for the infant to thaw before it can conduct the autopsy. An autopsy could be conducted Tuesday to determine an exact cause of death, as well as the infant's identity.
It may clear up many unanswered questions.
"If the child was stillborn, was it alive, all those things - manner of death - all of those things are going to play into what kind of additional charges we may file," explained Sgt. Joe Heffernan of the Toledo Police Department.
Pruitt and Cervantes could face more charges depending on what the autopsy reveals.
While the circumstances of the infant's death are still unclear, Dean Sparks with the Lucas County Children's Services said sometimes the pressures of parenthood can become too much, but there are resources to help.
"There's nothing more heinous than the unnecessary death of a baby," said Sparks.
Ohio passed a Safe Haven Law, which allows a parent to leave an infant up to 30 days old at a hospital, police station or fire station. The parent can do so anonymously and will not face prosecution if the child is in good health.
"Do other things. Reach out to family members. Reach out to neighbors. Do something other than hurt the child," said Sparks.
Any parent feeling overwhelmed and in need of help can call the Safe Haven Hotline at 419-265-2229. Parents can also call Mercy Children's Hospital Crying Baby Hotline at 419-251-5555.
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