SHANGHAI police say they've detained a 19-year-old mother whose newborn boy was found dead in the restroom of a downtown Internet cafe on Sunday.
The mother, Li Jing, a Guizhou Province resident, was apprehended yesterday in another Internet bar in the city. When police roused the sleeping woman, they recognized her from a surveillance tape taken at the site where the child was abandoned.
Officers said Li confessed she left the boy behind after giving birth, and a subsequent blood test indicated she was the mother.
The women remained in police custody last night while investigators determine what charges might be warranted.
Police said the child showed no external evidence of traumatic injury, but there was no word yesterday on how the boy died.
Li allegedly told police the baby's father was her ex-boyfriend in her hometown. She left home last year after learning she was pregnant and wasn't sure what to do, police said.
She came to Shanghai in May and often spent her nights in Internet cafes because she couldn't afford a hotel, they said.
Li gave birth in the room of the Ruide Internet Cafe on Shaanxi Road N on Sunday morning without being noticed and then left, according to authorities and a surveillance tape that captured her movements.
The dead baby, floating in a toilet bowl, was found by a cleaning woman.
Li told police she didn't plan to give birth at the cafe and went to the toilet after feeling pain in her stomach.
She said she left because she was frightened by the experience.
"If it's proved the baby was born dead or had a fatal disease that led to his immediate death, the woman may not face any charge," said Ma Yongjian, an attorney with the Shanghai Co-Career Law Firm and an expert in criminal law. "If the baby was born healthy, the key issue would be whether she had the intention to see him dead."
Causing intentional harm that leads to death could result in a murder charge and possible capital punishment, the lawyer said.
Jeopardizing the health of a child by abandoning him in a dangerous environment could lead to a charge of indirect murder and a penalty of three to 10 years in prison, Ma said.