Editors’ note: Some of the subject matter may be disturbing to some viewers.
WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — The case against a Warren woman charged with abuse of a corpse is now headed to a Trumbull County grand jury.
Brittany Watts, 33, was overcome with emotion Thursday afternoon after learning her case is moving forward. Watts is charged with felony abuse of a corpse, accused of trying to plunge a toilet after having a miscarriage delivery at 22 weeks while using the restroom.
Investigators said they found a baby stuck in a toilet at Watts’ home on Sept. 22.
“She said she felt the baby come out and there was a big splash,” said Det. Nick Carney, with the Warren Police Department.
Forensic pathologist Dr. George Sterbenz testified an autopsy found no injury to the fetus, and that the unborn fetus had died before passing through the birth canal. He said Watts’ medical records showed she visited the hospital twice before the delivery.
“This fetus was going to be non-viable. It was going to be non-viable because she had premature ruptured membranes — her water had broken early — and the fetus was too young to be delivered,” Sterbenz said.
Both the assistant prosecutor and Watts’ attorney argued why this case should or should not move forward.
“The issue isn’t how the child died, when the child died — it’s the fact that the baby was put into a toilet, large enough to clog up a toilet, left in that toilet and she went on [with] her day,” said Warren assistance prosecutor Lewis Guarnieri.
“This 33-year-old girl, with no criminal record, is demonized for something that goes on every day,” said Traci Timko, defense attorney.
Warren Municipal Court Judge Terry Ivanchak found probable cause to bind the case over.
“There are better scholars than I am to determine the exact legal status of this fetus/corpse/body/birthing tissue/whatever it is,” Ivanchak said. “Matter of fact, I’m assuming most of these Issue 1’s all about at what point something becomes viable.”