DENVER – Police authorities of Longmont in Northern Colorado confirmed having arrested a former nurse aide who allegedly attacked Wednesday a young pregnant woman and removed her fetus, killing it in the process and leaving the mother severely injured.
According to the police, the attacker is Dynel Lane, 34, who Thursday had her first court hearing where she was charged with attempted murder (in case of mother) and illegal termination of pregnancy (in case of the fetus).
Current laws in the state of Colorado do not recognize unborn babies as persons because of which murder charges cannot be presented against Lane for the death of the fetus.
Lane was detained at a local jail with her bail set at $2 million.
Lane could face a sentence of up to 48 years in prison if eventually found guilty of all the charges against her.
Boulder county district attorney Stanley Garnett told local media that the victim (a 26-year-old woman whose identity was not revealed) went to Lane’s house on Wednesday to buy baby clothes, in response to an online advertisement on Craigslist.
The victim was possibly attacked on entering the house and had the fetus removed from her womb.
Despite her critical condition, the woman managed to call 911, the U.S. emergency number, and was aided by medical personnel before being taken to a hospital in the area, where she continues to remain in intensive care.
The Craigslist account in question has been frozen and is now a part of ongoing investigations, according to the attorney.
Garnett said at a press conference that the charges against Lane could change from attempted murder to murder if it could be proved that the fetus was alive for a while outside the mother’s womb before it died.
This will be determined during its autopsy early Friday.
Garnett said that in the absence of a precise legal definition on the issue, an interpretation by the courts may be necessary to finally decide the charges against the suspect.
Lane was arrested once she arrived at a hospital (the same where the victim is admitted) with a dead fetus, claiming to have suffered a miscarriage. The police took little time to connect the two circumstances and arrested her.
The motives of the attack remain unknown, while Lane’s husband is not considered a suspect.