Woman charged in ‘Baby April’ case wants judge to release her on recognizance bond

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 4:39 PM CDT
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - An Ohio woman charged with the 1992 death of her newborn baby girl, known as “Baby April,” is asking a judge to release her on a recognizance bond, citing “substantial changes in circumstances.”

Steve Hanna, the attorney for Angela Renee Siebke, said in a motion filed Sept. 9 in Rock Island County Court that a defense expert has opined that it could not be determined “within a reasonable degree of scientific certainty” that the baby was born alive “due to the fact that the mastoid air sacs were not examined.”

He further wrote that nothing provided in discovery produced by prosecutors suggests beyond a reasonable doubt that the baby was born alive or that Siebke did anything criminally to cause her death, and thus should be released on her own recognizance pending trial.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Oct. 25. If granted a recognizance bond, Siebke would be released from the Rock Island County Jail with a promise to appear at all court proceedings and would not have to post a monetary bond.

Siebke, 48, is charged with one count of first-degree murder and is being held on a $1 million bond.

Prosecutors say that on April 11, 1992, Siebke, then 18 and living in Orion, caused the baby’s death when she placed the baby in a bag.

That day, a man walking his dog found the body of a full-term baby girl in a plastic garbage bag floating along the bank of the Mississippi River off 17th Street in Moline, according to police.

According to police, the Rock Island County Coroner identified the cause of death as suffocation asphyxiation and hypothermia.

Baby April was buried at Riverside Cemetery in Moline several days after the discovery of her body.

In December 2014, former Rock Island-County State’s Attorney John McGehee announced he had filed a first-degree murder charge against an unknown female’s DNA profile found at the scene.

McGehee said at the time that although a suspect has not been identified, a DNA profile is specific enough to file a criminal charge under Illinois law.

Working with Virginia-based lab Parabon NanoLabs, Siebke was developed as a suspect, police said.

Moline detectives went to her home in Ohio and served her with a warrant for her DNA. Siebke was arrested at the home of a family member in Rock Island on Dec. 17, police have said.

In a response filed Thursday, Rock Island County State’s Attorney Dora Villarreal wrote that the defense has had their expert’s medical report since July 7, which contradicted their “current allegations of a sudden and substantial change of circumstance in this case.”

She noted that the defense expert confirmed in the report that the cause of the baby’s death was listed as exposure to cold/asphyxia as a result of infanticide after the presence of air was found in the newborn girl’s lung’s in a float test.

Villarreal said the expert opined that the mastoid bone requires examination to determine an infant was born alive and concluded that this case was “undetermined.”

“This report does not contradict the state’s initial medial reports, but instead presents additional arguments for the trier of fact in the case to determine at trial,” she wrote in the motion.

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