News Law and Policy

Virginia Woman Charged Following Stillborn Birth

Nicole Knight

Katherine N. Dellis, 24, was charged Friday with unlawful concealment of human remains, a Class 6 felony.

A Virginia woman faces felony charges after police found a stillborn fetus in a dumpster.

Katherine N. Dellis, 24, of Rocky Mount, was charged Friday with unlawful concealment of human remains, a Class 6 felony, police said in a statement. The crime is punishable by up to five years in jail.

Authorities said they found the remains of a fetus in a dumpster at a Franklin County garbage collection site following an investigation.

Police said they were tipped off by hospital officials after Dellis was admitted last week under “suspicious circumstances” to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, Virginia. Dellis arrived with severe vaginal bleeding consistent with a third-trimester delivery, officials said, but denied giving birth.

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Police said an investigation and search of Dellis’ home yielded evidence of a birth. A family member admitted to disposing of soiled linens and bedding at two Franklin County dump sites. Authorities found the remains at a Blackwater garbage collection site, where EMS technicians determined the fetus was deceased.

“Our investigators and officers continue to work with all parties involved to get an accurate understanding of relevant information,” Rocky Mount Police Chief Ken Criner said in a prepared statement.

The investigation into the case is continuing.

Purvi Patel, an Indiana woman who in July 2013 went to a hospital suffering from vaginal bleeding and who later claimed to have had a miscarriage before placing the stillborn fetus in a dumpster, was sentenced to 41 years in prison on charges of feticide and felony neglect of a dependent. She’s expected to serve 20 years in prison.

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