Confession: Trenton infanticide involved heroin use, pregnant sex during labor

The infant homicide case that shocked the capital city two weeks ago is a horrible tale of death and despair.

Yardis Perez-Perez gave birth to a nameless child and left the baby girl for dead following a night of debauchery that involved drugs and wild sex on South Broad Street, according to court documents.

Yardis Perez-Perez (MCPO)

Yardis Perez-Perez (MCPO)

While undergoing the pains of labor, a pregnant Perez-Perez got drugged up with heroin and had sexual intercourse in various positions with a man who did not know she was an expectant mother, according to court documents.

The 27-year-old Perez-Perez ultimately confessed to infanticide on April 27, subsequently getting charged with manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child about five days after she abandoned her newborn baby, authorities allege. 

Trenton Police were dispatched to the 800 block of South Broad Street about 5:30 p.m. April 23 on a reported infant death. Officers entered the vacant property and found the remains of a baby who was officially pronounced dead several minutes later by a physician, according to court documents.

The fatal child endangerment occurred in a troubled area that is well-known to police for quality-of-life issues that include prostitution. Authorities executed a search warrant at the South Broad Street property and collected evidence.

“It appeared that the infant was birthed on a mattress in what would be the living room area,” Trenton Police Detective Luis Vega Jr. said in an affidavit of probable cause. “The infant’s gender was determined to be female. The Middlesex County Medical Examiner’s Office was contacted and then responded and took possession of the remains.”

The gestational age of the infant was approximately 34 weeks to 38 weeks, according to a preliminary post-mortem report cited in court documents. That means the mother most likely carried the child to full term before giving birth, although Perez-Perez had never received prenatal care and estimated herself to have been five months pregnant at the time of self-delivery.

On April 24, a day after cops discovered the remains, Detectives Vega and Otis Wood of the Trenton Police Department identified Perez-Perez as the alleged perpetrator responsible for the infanticide. Police issued a BOLO or “Be on the lookout” poster for Perez-Perez after interviewing a solid witness who had linked her to the sick crime, according to court documents.

TPD detectives in the Violent Crimes Unit found Perez-Perez about 11 a.m. April 27 in the area of Perry Street and Montgomery Street near her Wood Street residence in the North Ward. She agreed to speak with detectives and was transported to the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office facility on Lamberton Road for an interview, according to court documents.

Despite having the right to remain silent, Perez-Perez willingly spoke with police in Spanish, revealing the sordid details of her intimate encounter. She told police she did two bags of heroin and had sex with a man despite experiencing labor pains that preceded her secret childbirth, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

When her sex partner was sleeping, Perez-Perez went into another room in the house and lied on a mattress in pain until she gave birth. She cuddled with her newborn baby girl, who was crying, and then eventually placed the baby in a blanket and laid the baby in a box that was located in the rear kitchen area. “Scared” and “depressed,” Perez-Perez left the building about two minutes later with no intention to return for the baby, according to statements she gave to police as cited in court documents.

The baby was alive and was “making low sounds and was faintly breathing” when Perez-Perez abandoned her, she told police. She also said her male sex partner “did not see the baby and did not have knowledge that she gave birth or left the baby in the rear room in a box,” according to the affidavit.

Prior to her arrest, Perez-Perez was trying to avoid contact with police because she knew the cops were looking for her, she confessed in her interview. Charging documents say Perez-Perez endangered and killed her newborn child “by abandoning her live child shortly after giving birth and not providing any care for her child knowing that the newborn child was in need of said care.”

Perez-Perez has been jailed at the Mercer County Correction Center since her April 27 arrest. After a few postponements, she ultimately consented to pretrial detention Thursday morning before Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier.

Wearing an orange inmate jumpsuit and sporting a freshly braided hairstyle, Perez-Perez communicated to the court through an interpreter and was represented by Nicole Carlo, a state public defender.

In addressing the court, Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Michelle Gasparian said Perez-Perez was charged with second-degree reckless manslaughter and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child but did not discuss any details of the case due to the defense consenting to detention and stipulating to probable cause.

Agreeing to be jailed without bail pending final resolution of her case, Perez-Perez is scheduled to next appear in court for a June 25 pre-indictment conference before Judge Peter Warshaw.

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