New Details: Pregnant Woman’s Baby Cut From Womb After Answering Craigslist Ad

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LONGMONT, Colo. -- The grisly cutting of a fetus from a woman began with a Craigslist ad about baby clothes for sale.

Michelle Wilkins, a 26-year-old woman who was seven months pregnant, arrived at the seller's home just before noon Wednesday in Longmont, Colorado.

To announce her arrival, she texted the seller, a woman who went by "D," according to a narrative provided by a police report, interviews and a 911 tape.

LISTEN: 911 phone call from victim (Warning: Some listeners might be troubled by the call)

The seller was later identified as Dynel Lane, 34, a former nurse aide, who was ordered held on $2 million bail Thursday while prosecutors weigh charges against her, including whether to accuse her of killing a fetus.

Michelle Wilkins (courtesy of family)

Lane is accused of stabbing Wilkins and removing the fetus.

The fetus died, but the mother survived and has a "very optimistic" prognosis, authorities said Thursday.

Authorities' version of events was unlike anything the local district attorney has seen in his 32 years practicing law.

'I'm pregnant'

Stabbed in the stomach and bleeding, the victim called 911.

"She cut me," she told the operator.

"Who cut you?" the operator asked.

"I don't know," the victim said.

Then came the revelation.

"She cut you in your stomach?" the operator asked.

"Uh-huh. I'm pregnant," the victim said.

Responding police heard a woman's cry for help inside the home and found her on a bed, going in and out of consciousness, just barely able to speak. A knife with a 3-inch blade was found under the bed.

'Covered in blood'

Searching the split-level home, police found several bloody towels being laundered in the washing machine.

David Ridley, the 35-year-old husband of Dynel Lane, told police he had returned home earlier after leaving work to meet his wife.

As the husband walked downstairs toward the basement, his wife walked around the corner "covered in blood," the police report said.

"She told David she just miscarried and the baby was in the bathtub upstairs," the police report said.

A baby in the bathtub

After Ridley saw his bloody wife, he ran to the bathroom and found "a small baby lying in the bathtub," the police report said.

"He rubbed the baby slightly then rolled it over to ... see it take a gasping breath," the report said.

Ridley wrapped the baby in a towel, and apparently unaware that its mother was still bleeding inside the house, drove the baby and his wife to the emergency room of Longmont United Hospital, police said.

A 'well performed' incision

Wilkins was later taken for treatment at the same hospital, police said.

The emergency room surgeon noticed the victim had an incision on her abdomen that "appeared to be well performed," the report said.

The doctor observed that "the person who did the incision would have to have researched the subject of cesarean births in books or online to achieve the level of accuracy," the police report said.

Lane was a certified nurse aide starting July 1, 2010, and her license expired on January 31, 2012, with no history of discipline or board actions, according to records with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. At that time, she lived in Pueblo, Colorado, the records showed.

No signs of giving birth

While at the hospital with Lane, a police investigator "saw no visual signs of vaginal bleeding coming from Dynel or any signs of having recently given birth," police said.

Lane refused to allow hospital staff to examine her vaginally, according to police.

"Dynel admitted to Detective Stacey Graham that she cut abdomen open to remove [the victim's] baby," according to the police report.

The hospital told police "the baby was approximately 7 months old and would have been viable," the report said.

Police then obtained a warrant to search Lane's body. The findings of that search weren't revealed Thursday.

Suggestions of another lost pregnancy

Lane had told her family months earlier that she was pregnant, even showing them an ultrasound photo of a boy in December.

Her husband's early departure from work was to take her to a prenatal appointment, police said.

But one of Lane's two teenage daughters later told investigators that "she could not tell Dynel was pregnant and [she] was very petite."

When asked Thursday whether Lane may have earlier lost a pregnancy, prosecutors said they couldn't comment.

"I can tell you we're looking very thoroughly at Ms. Lane's history, and the police are investigating every aspect," Boulder County District Attorney Stanley L. Garnett said.

In July 2002, Lane was apparently in another marriage and lost a 19-month-old son to accidental drowning in a decorative pond, said Pueblo County Coroner Brian Cotter. The parents of Michael Alexander Cruz were listed as Jason and Dynel Cruz.

A murder?

Prosecutors are weighing whether to file a murder charge against Lane, who won't face any formal charges until next week at the earliest, Garnett said.

The prosecutor described the difficulty in determining charges.

"The issue of whether or not murder charges are appropriate involving a case involving the death of a fetus or a late-term pregnancy is always a difficult issue," Garnett said.

"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. I don't know the answer yet as to whether that can be established, what our facts are here," Garnett said.

That information will be a key part of the investigation, Garnett said.

Dozens of officers are working the case and awaiting medical information from an autopsy, Garnett added.

The definition of "lived as a child" is difficult, too, and whether that means one breath or one hour, Garnett said.

"The Supreme Court and the court of appeals will get to tell us that eventually. The law is not, as in many areas, terribly clear in terms of that," Garnett said.

A case unlike any other

Lane was arrested on accusations of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, and child abuse knowingly/recklessly resulting in death, Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur said.

Longmont Police are asking anyone who may have responded to a Craigslist ad for baby clothes, posted by "D" or "Dynel," or who perhaps traveled to her home on Green Place in Longmont, to call (303) 651-8523.

Garnett said he's never seen such a case in his 32 years as an attorney.

"I've never quite seen this fact pattern before," he said.

27 comments

  • Ashley Dancho

    I think this is clearly a case of murder. The baby was living in its mom. She took away the baby’s life and took the baby from its mother. I would be devastated and I’m sure the mom is. I think the baby died from a lack of proper care and an early birth. An early baby need the right care but they can make it at this age. How could they not think this is murder??

  • AMS

    Many women go into labor much earlier in their pregnancy and the baby’s survive. This child had a more than good chance of surviving outside the womb. This is murder. Period.

  • patti

    She murdered the baby, period. What part of murder does the law not get? Oh, right, they say it’s not a baby unless it’s outside the mothers womb. Pathetic and wrong thinking. Who will stand up for the lives of these babies?????

  • Swampdonkey

    If only we could send these nuts to another planet, or at least an island and let them fend for themselves.

  • Tammy

    She should be charged with murder. The child took a breath, it was viable if it had recieved medical help, and as a nurses aid she knew this. I feel she cut out the child just so she could show her husband a dead child. What is the difference between killing the child inside the mother or killing it when taken out?? She pre-planned this crime, She lured the victim. She inflicted unspeakable horror on the victim. There is no guarantee that she would not do this again.She is a menace to society. No parole, no early release. Charge her with murder for the baby , attempted murder for the Mother. Luring the victim, torture and whatever else they can charge her with. DO NOT LET HER USE THE MENTAL HEALTH DEFENSE. She took a child from the world. Who knows what that child would have contributed. God bless that family and god bless that little angel.

  • Cyndi

    So glad they were able to get to her in time! So sorry she went through that! May god bless her little one!🙏 & May justice be done to the evil that did this!

  • anthony

    Well, if you answer an ad on Craigslist or rent to someone from Craigslist, chances are they will be mentally unstable! That’s just the way it seems to me!

  • Georga

    If mental illness is always going to be an excuse maybe its time we start sterilizing all of them as well.

    • Dan

      That would CLEARLY fix everything. Being an evil person is much more different than mental health issues. Maybe the law regarding the use of mental issues as a defense should be changed, especially since that would be much cheaper to tax payers and a lot less “crazy”.

  • Iris

    Safety and responsibility goes both ways! If you are selling on Craigslist, please PLEASE make it easy and convenient for your customer to meet you in a public place, such as a busy/well-staffed store or restaurant. (Places I’ve met include in front of a busy Wal-mart, a Cracker Barrel restaurant where I asked to stay inside instead of meeting at the seller’s car, and a security gateway at a seller’s workplace where I briefly spoke with the security guard before doing our trade.) We have all been raised to be polite, and unfortunately sometimes that means we don’t ask for the safety we need, so please be proactive and suggest safe, well-known places to meet. The harder we work to make public meetings the default on Craiglist, the harder it will be for bad people to take advantage. Thank you.

  • NONEYABIDNESS

    Maybe the victim answered the wrong section of Craigslist;
    Barter & Trade ?
    Free Services ?
    Maybe she posted something on Rants & Raves and this is what happened ?
    People on Craigslist, They So Crazy ! ! ! ! !

  • thinkbeforeyoudo

    This is why u always go to a public place.. Or be like me and have a gun on you at all times… Thoughts and prayers go out to the victims … And to be honest that husband drove her he was there then!!

    • Travis

      Even if he wasn’t and had no knowledge of what she was doing what did he think happened when he seen her with a baby? I mean I get it if it was me and I didn’t know which I wouldn’t because I’d call the cops on the psycho b!$@ just for suggesting it I would want to get the baby to the hospital as fast as possible to try and save it but upon arriving at the hospital I would be getting in touch with the police and telling the hospital security to keep her away from the baby

  • BZ22

    Absolutely, positively do NOT want to hear any excuses, “reasons” or pleas regarding the suspect’s mental health issues or incapacities!!! Put her in a dark cell in the back and forget about her.

    • dreamoutloud74

      God forbid that the suspect might have mental health issues. Maybe she’s just pure evil. maybe she deserves to rot in prison. but your closed-mindedness as to the very real possibility that she’s very, very, mentally ill doesn’t really help things.

      • Dreamcatcher

        Enough is enough! We’re ALL tired of mental illness being used as an excuse for such unspeakable acts of violence! Evil is evil period. Your average everyday person suffering from anxiety disorders or depression is a far cry from people like this. There is NO excuse, rhyme, or reason. They’re just bad, evil, and horrible.

      • BZ22

        I’m not closeminded at all. How mentally ill can one proclaim to be who is capable of planning and setting up such a devious scheme, carrying out such a horrific act and then clam she’s unfit to stand trial and answer for this deed? Is the victim really supposed to say, “Oh, that poor woman. I feel so sorry for her”?

      • Hopeful

        So you accuse someone of being close minded because YOU want to lump ALL mentally ill people in with evil psychopaths? Technically psychopathy is classified as a mental illness but I beg to differ because sociopaths and psychopaths have no conscience at ALL. They’re evil. Or maybe you’re just a psychopath waiting to blow and planning your excuse?

    • Travis

      no bz this happened in Colorado they’ll try to blame it on the legal marijuana there’s no doubt in my mind this woman isn’t psychotic but having psychotic thoughts and acting on them is two different things I really wish people like this were chained up and allowed to be tortured by the people they hurt in this case the assumed happy parents to be

  • GeoBabe14

    NEVER agree to meet at someone’s house!!!!!!!!!! ALWAYS meet in a very public, well lit place! My condolences and I hope this women rots in the worst place ever, but please people…use some common sense!!!!!!!!!

Comments are closed.