Woman accused of cutting foetus from dead mother

A woman accused of killing a pregnant woman and cutting her unborn baby from her womb which she passed off as her own has been charged as being a fugitive and held on $2m bail.

Julia Corey, 35, of Worcester, Massachusetts, was found with the baby at a homeless shelter yesterday and was taken into custody after staff alerted the police. The body of the baby's real mother, Darlene Haynes, 23, was discovered in her home in Worcester on Monday. Her body had been dumped in a cupboard and discovered by her landlord who was alerted by the smell.

The following day, an autopsy revealed that Ms Haynes had sustained head injuries and that her eight-month-old foetus was missing.

The exact cause of death will not be known until toxicology tests reveal whether or not she had been drugged.

Police said alarm bells rang after Ms Corey was seen showing off the newborn to friends less than a day after she claimed to have given birth. "Some friends became a little concerned about how she got home so early after just giving birth," said Worcester Police Sgt Kerry Hazelhurst.

Ms Corey, who appeared at Concord District Court via video link from the county jail, is likely to face homicide and kidnapping charges. A man who was with her was questioned by police and later released.

The baby has been taken into care by authorities in New Hampshire and is said to be in good condition.

The murder is the latest in a string of foetus abduction cases in the US. In 2004, Lisa Montgomery, from Kansas, killed a woman she had met on the internet and cut the baby from her womb. She has since been sentenced to death.