116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY - A Davenport woman gave birth in a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics bathroom on Mother's Day and attempted to flush the newborn down a toilet, believing it was stillborn, authorities said.
According to a UI Department of Public Safety criminal complaint, 22-year-old Ashley R. Hautzenrader entered a bathroom in the John Colloton Pavillion at UIHC around 9:24 p.m. May 8 and delivered a baby into the toilet. Hautzenrader told police she did not know she was pregnant before entering the bathroom.
The newborn was not crying, leading Hautzenrader to believe the child was dead. Police said she attempted to flush it down the toilet. Hautzenrader then placed the child in a pillow case and put the baby in a trash can, police said. She then cleaned the bathroom and left.
UIHC employees later found the baby alive in the trash can. Officers confronted Hautzenrader, who admitted to putting the child in the trash can.
UI spokesman Tom Moore, citing federal health privacy law, said the hospital cannot say whether Hautzenrader was a patient at the hospital or comment on a condition of the baby. He said that identifying the employees who discovered the baby would give 'clues” to Hautzenrader's private health care information.
Moore said the baby was found 'shortly after delivery.”
Interim Public Safety Director Lucy Wiederholt said the incident remains under investigation and the police are not sharing any more information.
Online court records identify Hautzenrader as the petitioner in a paternity and child support recovery case filed in Scott County in May 2015.
Iowa has a Safe Haven Law that allows parents to leave a newborn up to 14 days old at a hospital without being prosecuted, according to the Iowa Department of Human Services. The law was enacted in 2002.
Moore said the process to bring a baby to the UIHC under the Safe Haven law 'is very easy.” The newborn can be brought to any location in the hospital - including reception desks, clinics and inpatient units - and turned over.
'The child will be accepted and cared for with no questions asked,” Moore said in an email.
The UI does not keep records on the number of children turned over under the Save Haven law, Moore said.
Hautzenrader was arrested and faces one count of child endangerment, an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by up to two years in prison.