Teenager gives birth, beats newborn to death on camping trip, police say

Michigan police say the 18-year-old from Illinois admitted she “freaked out” and punched the baby in the head and body at a campsite.
Mon Jul 29, 2013 - 10:18 am EST

HONOR, MI, July 29, 2013 ( – An 18-year-old girl has admitted giving birth to a newborn during a camping trip with her family, then repeatedly beating the girl until she inflicted injures that caused the baby to die, according to police.

Alyce Morales gave birth inside a tent at Michigan's Platte River Campground at about 11:20 p.m. last Monday night. Her family, which did not know she was pregnant, soon found her and her newborn girl and called 911.

The newborn, Marie Morales, was pronounced dead at Munson Medical Center at 8:57 Tuesday morning.


Michigan State Police Sgt. Scott Bates told the Traverse City Record-Eagle that investigators assumed the baby died of natural causes, until the doctor who performed the autopsy in Grand Rapids “described injuries consistent with blunt force trauma.”

Officers say Alyce waived her Miranda rights and admitted several times that she “freaked out” and beat her child in the head and body with her closed fist.

Court documents state that the young woman, who is from Cicero, Illinois, “did not want to tell her parents for fear of disappointment.”

During an arraignment on Thursday, Morales was charged with one felony count of open murder.

Judge John Mead of the 85th District Court denied her bail and deemed her a flight risk.

If convicted of first-degree open murder, she could be sentenced to life in prison. But the jury could downgrade the charge to second-degree open homicide, according to Prosecutor Sara Swanson, if it finds Morales did not intend to kill her baby girl.

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Authorities involved in the case expressed shock and disbelief. Phil Akers, the chief ranger at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore which encompasses the campground, called the incident "really tragic."

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