By Alexander Dworkowitz
A homeless woman was detained by police after a dead fetus was discovered in a bathroom in Flushing Meadows Corona Park last week, authorities said.
At about 1:45 p.m. on Feb. 21, a Parks Department supervisor found a dead fetus in the women’s room underneath the Passarelle Ramp just south of the Shea Stadium LIRR stop, police said.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown soon arrived on the scene.
Brown said the fetus had been discovered in a vent in the bathroom, wrapped in a plastic bag. The district attorney added that the fetus had probably been there for about a week before it was discovered.
“Apparently, the odor from the vent area attracted attention,” he said.
With a sunny sky and the temperature in the park in the mid-60s, many people stopped by the scene, trying to peer beyond the police lines into the bathroom.
One of the bystanders who came to take a look was a blond homeless woman who wore dark sunglasses and a heavy black winter coat.
The woman stood above the restroom on the Passarelle Ramp, which leads to the LIRR station. Investigators spotted the woman and called to her, but she turned around and fled.
The police caught up to the woman, sat her down and began questioning her.
“I didn’t do anything,” the woman told the investigators.
“I don’t want to go to the precinct,” she said.
But after about 20 minutes of questioning, officers escorted the woman into a police car from the 110th Precinct. They drove off, with the woman holding a lit cigarette out of the partly opened back window of the car.
Police at the 110th Precinct would not say whether or not the woman was still detained. Meris Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Queens district attorney, said that no one had been charged in connection with the dead fetus as of press time Tuesday.
A man who observed the scene from a park bench said many homeless call the park their home.
“A lot of homeless people live in this park,” he said.
The discovery of the fetus comes after the city has made efforts to raise awareness of the Abandoned Infant Protection Act.
Signed into law in July 2000, the law allows mothers to drop off newborn babies, up to five days old, at designated locations. In Queens, most of the specified spots are hospitals and firehouses. Mothers who drop off their newborns in these locations cannot be prosecuted for crimes of abandonment.
The city provides information about the law at 866-505-SAFE.
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.