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No murder charge in case of baby cut from Colorado woman's womb

Colorado woman accused of cutting baby from stranger's womb will not be charged with murdering the fetus

A Colorado woman accused of cutting a 7-month-old fetus out of a stranger's womb after luring her with an online ad for baby clothes will not be charged with murdering the fetus, the Boulder County district attorney's office confirmed to the Los Angeles Times on Thursday.

Charges against 34-year-old Dynel Lane will be filed Friday, according to Catherine Olguin, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor, but murder will not be among them. A news conference will be held to address the charges.

No additional information was released Thursday night. But the district attorney has said that to file murder charges, he would have to prove the fetus was alive outside the mother's body.

Lane was arrested March 18, the day of the incident, at a hospital in the Denver suburb of Longmont. She had with her the fetus, already dead, that had been cut out of 26-year-old Michelle Wilkins, Longmont police said. Lane told her husband and hospital staff that she had miscarried, police said. 

Lane's husband believed she was pregnant and is not a suspect in the case, according to the criminal complaint. Lane had also told her two teenage children she was pregnant, the complaint states.

Wilkins underwent surgery and is expected to survive. She called 911 from Lane's home after the assault, when she was left alone in a room, police said.

Charges were supposed to have been filed Wednesday, but the district attorney took more time to review the case, including the autopsy of the fetus.

“Under Colorado law, essentially, there’s no way murder charges can be brought if it’s not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother for some period of time,” Boulder County Dist. Atty. Stan Garnett told reporters March 19.

Lane’s husband told police the baby was alive and took a “gasping breath” when he saw it in the couple’s home, according to the criminal complaint.

Lane was arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, and child abuse knowingly and recklessly resulting in death. She is being held on a $2-million bond.

The day after Lane's arrest, protesters said she should be charged with murder, the Daily Camera reported. 

"Murder is murder," said Renee Jacoby, who organized the rally, according to the Camera. "It doesn't matter how you look at it.... It is a human being. It is murder."

The Wilkins family issued a statement last week through the police. Her assailant “beat, cut and strangled her … then removed her unborn daughter with an ordinary kitchen knife," the family said. "Her medical condition is guardedly optimistic, and we hope for a full physical recovery.”

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Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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