Newborn Found Dead in Dorm Room Leaves College Stunned

Associated Press

A newborn girl found dead in the closet of a Thiel College sophomore’s dormitory room this week was born alive, authorities said today.

The baby, born about 11 p.m. Tuesday and discovered 17 hours later by a student and a college nurse, “was a live birth--that much is established,” said Dr. Frank McElree, Mercer County deputy coroner.

“If an autopsy finds that there’s a badly formed heart or something like that, this (job) is a lot easier,” he said. “But if they say all organs are normal, I can assure you there will be a complete investigation from the district attorney.”

Students at the small, Lutheran-affiliated college say they’re stunned over the death.


“Everybody’s shocked that at little Thiel College something like this could happen,” said Randy Swanson, 21, a junior from Punxsutawney. “That’s what everybody’s talking about.”

Police and college officials refused to identify the student, who was admitted to Greenville Regional Hospital for tests. “She was very quiet,” said Christine Gray, head resident adviser at Stewart Dormitory, where the mother lived.

Students said they noticed the student was gaining weight, which she tried to disguise with bulky sweaters and jackets.

Gray said the mother passed out on campus Wednesday afternoon and an ambulance was summoned. School nurse Jean Olsson and another student then went to the woman’s room and found the baby in a garbage bag in the closet.


The liberal arts college, which has an enrollment of 823, is located in a quiet, conservative community in rural northwestern Pennsylvania.