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Autopsy Finds Baby in Trash Bin Was Born Alive

November 24, 1996

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) _ A baby boy delivered in a motel room by two teenagers was alive and healthy before it was abandoned in a trash bin, the medical examiner’s office concluded Friday.

The attorney for Brian Peterson Jr., who is charged along with his high-school sweetheart with murdering the newborn, had suggested that his defense might involve the possibility the boy was stillborn.

But an examination showed the 6-pound, 2-ounce boy was born without problems, according to Alexis Andrianopoulos, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Social Services.

``The autopsy showed it was a full-term, healthy baby boy. That means it was born alive after a full term, nine-month pregnancy″ with no birth defects, she said.

The medical examiner’s office has ruled the death a homicide, saying the newborn died of a skull fracture and from shaking. Both Peterson and Amy Grossberg were charged with murder, and the attorney general’s office is seeking the death penalty.

The infant’s body remained at the medical examiner’s office Friday. Ms. Grossberg’s family has claimed the body and is making arrangements to have it transferred to New Jersey, said Andrianopoulos.

However, Joseph A. Hurley, Peterson’s attorney, has said he may seek an independent autopsy.

Hurley also suggested before the judge imposed a gag order that Ms. Grossberg had failed to seek counseling or prenatal help because she was terrified her mother would learn she was pregnant.

Peterson, who surrendered Thursday, and Ms. Grossberg, who has been imprisoned since leaving the hospital where she was treated for complications from the birth, have separate legal counsel and both plan to plead innocent.

The teen-agers, from affluent neighborhoods in northern New Jersey, had just started college, he at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and she at the University of Delaware.

Neither has explained what happened last week in a Newark motel room where Ms. Grossberg gave birth. The baby boy was wrapped in a plastic bag and thrown in a trash bin outside the motel, police said.

Investigators don’t know if the skull fracture and other injuries happened before or after the baby was put in the trash.

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