Prosecutors: Suspect in newborn death researched ways to end her pregnancy

Latice Fisher
By: 
LOGAN KIRKLAND & RYAN PHILLIPS
SDN STAFF

Prosecutors say a Starkville woman accused of killing her newborn baby last year confessed to a nurse at OCH Regional Medical Center that she didn’t want to be a mother again, and had researched ways to terminate her pregnancy.
 
Latice Fisher, 32, also told the OCH nurse that she had been aware of the pregnancy for at least a month, according to new details revealed in documents filed by prosecutors in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court Tuesday.
 
THE INCIDENT
 
According to the court file, Charles Fisher Jr. called 911 the night of April 28 to report that his wife, a former Starkville Police dispatcher, had possibly delivered a baby at home.
 
The EMTs who arrived at their home found the baby was in the toilet, and hadn’t been “wiped off or stimulated in any way,” according to the documents. Latice Fisher was sitting on the toilet, above the baby, with the umbilical cord still attached, the paramedics reported.
 
The responding EMT noted that the baby appeared to be “greater than 35 weeks in gestation, and that it weighed approximately 6 pounds.” 
 
Paramedics reported the baby showed no signs of life, with blue skin and no heartbeat. All court filings involved with the case do not note the baby’s sex.
 
Fisher then walked out to the ambulance, was placed on a stretcher, and transported to OCH Regional Medical Center in Starkville where she was evaluated and questioned by hospital staff. 
 
Prosecutors say Fisher admitted to a nurse at OCH that she learned she was pregnant during an annual gynecological exam a month earlier, but she failed to make any follow-up appointments for an ultrasound or other prenatal care. 
 
Fisher told hospital officials that earlier on the evening of April 28 at about 7 p.m., she felt she needed to “have a bowel movement,” sat down on the toilet and began cramping and bleeding. She said that continued for three hours while her husband slept downstairs, according to the court filing.
 
When asked why she did not immediately call for help or go to the hospital, Fisher said “I just thought I needed to have a bowel movement.” 
 
Records indicate Fisher called her husband at 12:49 a.m. and that he called 911 at 12:51 a.m.
 
The Starkville Daily News reported earlier this month that the baby was transported to OCH Regional Medical Center in cardiac arrest, before being pronounced dead. 
 
When Latice Fisher was interviewed about how the events occurred, court documents say she admitted that she didn’t want any more children, that she couldn’t afford any more and that she “simply couldn’t deal with being pregnant again.”
 
Investigators also learned that on April 17, which was far into Fisher’s third trimester, that she researched abortion medication. This information came after investigators downloaded Latice Fisher's cell phone memory and data, which revealed her internet search history.
 
She also admitted to conducting internet searches, including how to induce a miscarriage, “buy abortion pills, mifeprisone online, misoprostol online,” and “buy Misoprostol Abortion Pill Online.”
 
Fisher then purchased misoprostol following the online search, according to the district attorney’s office.
 
Misoprostol is used by doctors for many purposes, including to treat women who have experienced miscarriages, to induce labor or cause an abortion. The drug is approved for use in a medical abortion for pregnancies up to 49 days in gestation. 
 
MEDICAL FINDINGS
 
An autopsy was performed on the newborn by the Mississippi State Medical Examiner’s Office in Pearl. 
 
The medical examiner noted there was no identifiable evidence of external or internal traumatic injury that would have caused or contributed to the baby’s death, according to the court records. 
 
The medical examiner then confirmed that the baby died due to asphyxiation, most likely due to a combination of positional asphyxia and mechanical asphyxia. Also, the medical examiner found that drowning could not be ruled out with certainty. 
 
The court documents most recently filed by District Attorney Scott Colom’s office requests a judge’s permission to hire a toxicologist and fetal medicine/obstetrics specialist to help with their prosecution of the case. 
 
“The State needs to retain the services … to determine the effects of misoprostol on a late-stage pregnancy, such as Fisher’s, and to provide testimony regarding how the use of the abortion pill during such a late stage pregnancy affected the baby and Fisher’s delivery of the baby in a toilet,” Assistant District Attorney Marc Amos wrote in the motion filed Tuesday. 
 
Fisher’s next court date is set for April 23. She was indicted in January, but officials have not released the date of her arrest. Charged with second-degree murder, she’s being held in the Oktibbeha County Jail with bond set at $100,000.
 

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