A woman in her twenties is in police custody, in hospital, standing accused of having played a part in the death of her newborn child, who was found dead in a trashcan behind the hotel where she worked.
The incident in question, Vísir reports, took place on Saturday. The suspect, who worked at Hotel Frón and was described by co-workers as good natured and hard working, allegedly gave birth to the child although she – and others she worked with – had no idea she was pregnant.
Shortly after the child was born, the woman contacted her ex-boyfriend and said she was ill. He and his father picked her up, intending first to go home, but decided instead that she needed to go to the hospital. A doctor who examined her determined that she had just given birth to a child. The woman denied this, and so the doctor informed the police to look for a newborn baby in the vicinity where she fell ill.
Police found the child, already deceased, in a trash can behind the hotel. An autopsy determinded that the baby was born living. The suspect is still in the hospital, and will be questioned by police when she is released into their custody, tomorrow at the earliest. She will also undergo a psychological evaluation. If found guilty of causing the death of her child, she faces up to six years in prison.
Part of what has made this story particularly shocking in Iceland is that the last incident of this sort happened 19 years ago. Another part of the story is that the suspect in this case is from Lithuania – a detail that every news service in Iceland decided was relevant to the story.
Rev. Baldur Kristjánsson (recently interviewed by the Grapevine), questions the relevance of bringing up the nationality of someone suspected of a crime, as the implication is that the nationality somehow played a part in the crime, adding, “does it matter whether this woman was from the Westman Islands or Lithuania?”