Autopsy: Mom buried her infant son alive

April 23, 2010 2:28:41 PM PDT
A mother accused in the death of her two-month-old baby did not appear in court Friday morning, instead she underwent a mental evaluation. But prosecutors did read the charge against Narjes Modarresi in a probable cause hearing. Modarresi had claimed that a man took her child from a stroller in Briarbend Park on Wednesday, but police say that turned out to be a lie after the mother led police to the baby's body near a bayou just hours after the claim.

During a hearing Friday morning, prosecutors say the cause of death for two-month-old Masih Golabbakhsh was asphyxiation. They say water was found in the baby's lungs, stomach and airway, and that the medical examiner concluded that baby was alive prior to being placed face down in the muddy water.

They went on to say mud was found on Modarresi's clothes consistent with mud at the scene where the baby's body was discovered.

Capital murder charges were filed Thursday night against Modarresi. She was moved from a hospital and into police custody.

The 28-year-old mother told police Wednesday an African-American male with a tattoo on his arm had taken her child. She gave a full description, but hours later police say she admitted that suspect did not exist, and her whole story was a lie. Detectives say she confessed that she had buried the baby's body near the bayou and led them to the spot.

Sources close to the family told us the young couple lived on their own, but eventually moved in with family because the young mother had problems, and they wanted to keep an eye on her.

"A jury is going to look at one major thing - Did she have a history of this? Was she predisposed to doing this?" said Joel Androphy, KTRK legal analyst.

Androphy says the mother's psychiatric history will be key in this case.

"If she has no psychiatric history, and her insanity defense is solely a creation in her lawyer's mind, then she's probably going to lose," he said.

Modaressi is being held without bond in the Harris County Jail. She is scheduled to appear in court on Monday morning.

The family's new lead attorney, George Parnham, told us he will hold a news conference Saturday to discuss more details of this case. Parnham was the lead attorney on the case involving Andrea Yates. The mother was convicted in 2001 of killing her five children by drowning them in the bathtub. She also suffered from postpartum depression.

Parnham has fought to change Texas' legal definition of insanity to include elements of postpartum depression.

Family members and neighbors shocked

On Thursday morning, Amir Golabbakhsh came to see the place where his two-month-old grandson, Masih, was found dead. The baby was half buried in a muddy area, covered in leaves.

"He was living with us," said Amir. "We take care of him."

"Was he healthy?" we asked.

"Yes, he just started laughing. He was two months old. It was just a week that he started laughing."

The Amber Alert for the baby was issued after Amir's daughter-in-law told police a man had grabbed the infant from his stroller in Briarbend Park.

"We just pray," said Amir. "All we can do is just pray. God give him (Amir's son) the strength. It is very hard for him, for us, everybody."

Amir indicated his daughter-in-law had some symptoms consistent with postpartum depression and she was taking medication.

"We know that she was under the medication, but we didn't know that it was that bad," he said.

Neighbors Wayne and Marianne Strickland's home backs up to the bayou. They watched as police removed the baby from the mud.

"It is horrible," said Marianne.

"It's a sorry thing when people have an interest in adopting children," said Wayne.

Neighbor Ann Young, a therapist, was shocked, saying, "I'm really upset that any family would have to go through that."

The couple also has another child, who is three years old.

While there is no recorded history calls for Child Protective Services, an investigator was brought out to consider the safety of the other child, who is still in the family's custody.

Activists condemn description of fake suspect

Civil rights activists are condemning the woman's actions because they say the fake suspect was described as an African-American man. This clearly isn't the first time someone who is black or a minority was blamed incorrectly for a criminal act. But to some, that doesn't make it any less offensive.

You can read more about the activists' concerns here.


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