Newborn baby 'alive and well' after allegedly being left in dryer by Va. mom Angela Janecka, attorney says

Angela Marie Janecka, 39, is charged with attempted murder and felony child neglect.
Henrico Police via WTVR
Angela Marie Janecka, 39, is charged with attempted murder and felony child neglect
WTVR/Henrico Police

(CBS) HENRICO, Va. - A prosecutor said Wednesday a call from a doctor's answering service alerted police to rescue a possibly distressed newborn who was allegedly placed in a plastic bag by her mother and left to die inside a laundry machine, according to a report by The News and Advance.

Angela Janecka, 39, was arraigned on Wednesday and ordered by a Henrico judge to undergo a mental health examination. She was held without bail pending a preliminary hearing November.

Henrico police and a prosecutor described how the supposedly dead infant was recovered, wrapped in a plastic bag and pillowcase inside a dryer and still alive hours after she was born on Aug. 25.

"The baby is alive and well, which is the saving grace of all of this," said Henrico Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Nancy Oglesby.

Janecka is a stay-at-home mom with an 8-year-old son, The News and Advance reported. She listened via a video monitor from jail as Oglesby described the months-long ordeal in which Janecka claimed the child died in utero but "a mystery doctor" advised her to carry it to term.

"Everything about her story was inconsistent," Oglesby said.

Oglesby added that the notion of carrying a dead, 20-week-old fetus to brith was ridiculous and invited clearly dangerous health implications for the mother.

But Janecka's husband apparently accepted his wife's explanation as well as her subsequent telephone call to his work on Aug. 25 when she informed him that the infant had been delivered that morning, but was stillborn. 

Janecka and her husband grew up in the Norfolk area, attended high school together there and have been married 10 years, according to the newspaper.

"She told him the doctor had come to help deliver the baby and had taken it away," Oglesby said.

James Janecka rushed to the couple's townhouse apartment and began cleaning up the home of baby items, said Henrico police Capt. Jan Stem. He worked his way to the laundry room where he thought he heard the family cat.

"The sound was the baby," Stem said.

The husband unwrapped the bag to find the girl alive, weighing at about a healthy 8 pounds.

Instead of calling 911 for medical help, the couple called their son's pediatrician's office, leaving a message with the answering service about the newborn. A person at the service then called 911, and emergency units and police rushed the baby to St. Mary's Hospital.

Angela Janecka was questioned by police multiple times after the incident, Oglesby said. She was arrested Tuesday after a final visit to police headquarters.

The infant is being cared for by Child Protective Services. It could not be determined whether the 8-year-old remains with his father. Oglesby said the case remains under investigation.

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Sept. 6, 2012 - Angela Janecka, Virginia woman, accused of leaving newborn in dryer to die after home birth