HAMMOND, Ind. -- A northwest Indiana woman has pleaded guilty to giving birth on a Caribbean cruise ship and leaving the baby girl to die under a bed.
Alicia Keir, 24, of DeMotte entered the plea to an involuntary manslaughter charge on Wednesday in federal court.
Court records show Keir gave birth in her stateroom in October 2011, wrapped the baby in a towel and hid her under the bed, The (Munster) Times reported.
"She did not move. She did not make a sound," Keir told U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano, saying she knew the baby was born alive.
"I should have gotten help," she said.
A cleaning crew found the baby dead the next day when the ship arrived at port in St. Maarten. Keir flew home from St. Maarten after the infant was discovered.
A doctor found that the baby died from exposure and lack of care, U.S. Attorney Randall Stewart said. Court records show the baby was born without any diseases or defects. Keir said she knew she was pregnant but didn't tell her travel companions.
Federal prosecutors said even though the baby died at sea they have jurisdiction in the case because of Keir's Indiana residency.
Keir faces up to eight years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when she is sentenced Aug. 20. Her plea agreement states that prosecutors and the defense can argue for what they believe is an appropriate sentence.