Teen infanticide case: ‘Shocked’ family hope newborn’s body is found
FREEHOLD BOROUGH — The family of a Neptune High School student accused of suffocating her newborn and dumping the body say they are shocked by the charges and are praying that the baby's remains are found.
A crying Jada McClain, 18, of Neptune Township, and a quiet Quaimere Mohammed,19, of Asbury Park, made their first appearances in Superior Court on Wednesday morning. They are being held at the Monmouth County jail.
McClain is charged with first-degree murder and second-degree disturbing or desecrating human remains while Mohammed, who has been identified as the child's father, is charged with second-degree disturbing or desecrating human remains. Their attorneys did not say how they intend to plead.
Authorities say McClain hid her pregnancy from her family. She told investigators that she gave birth to her son at home over a toilet, then wrapped the child in a blanket and suffocated by pressing on his chest, prosecutors said. She and Mohammed placed the body in a dumpster in Asbury Park on March 29, prosecutors said.
Police were alerted by a friend who McClain had shown a picture of her bluish newborn over Snapchat.
McClain named her child Legend. His remains have not been found.
McClain's lawyer, Thomas Catley, handed out a statement that said the McClain family was "shocked" by the charges and were praying the infant's remains would be found in order to give him a proper burial, the Asbury Park Press reported.
McClain's detention hearing will take place next Wednesday while Mohammed's will be later this week, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Charles Webster.
A phone number listed for Catley at his Ocean Grove office was not answered. Mohammed's lawyer, Steve Nelson of Neptune Township, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Webster said there was a brief hearing to determine if the case would be moved to another county because one of the defendants is related to a court employee. The Superior Court judge ruled against a change of venue because there was a sufficient degree of separation between the defendant and the employee.
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