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Mother of baby found in West Boca Raton dumpster wants custody of her son

Appellate court asks Florida Supreme Court to weigh in on decision
Rafaelle Alessandra Carbalho Sousa
Posted at 11:50 AM, Sep 30, 2021

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A woman accused of disposing of her newborn baby in a West Boca Raton dumpster is fighting to get the rights to her other child back.

After Rafaelle Sousa was arrested in 2019, a Palm Beach County judge ruled she couldn't have custody of her newborn daughter and then-4-year-old son.

But an appellate court ruled Wednesday that there are legal questions about whether the 37-year-old mother should have been stripped of her rights.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal is asking the Florida Supreme Court to decide the constitutionality of a law that allowed Judge Luis Delgado to terminate Sousa's parental rights.

Sousa faces charges of attempted murder and child abuse after her newborn daughter was found alive in a dumpster near Boca Raton in May 2019.


Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies said Sousa gave birth to the girl before placing her in a garbage bag with "household garbage and coffee grinds" and then tossing her into a dumpster at the Alister Boca Raton apartments.

Attorneys for Sousa argued that there was no evidence she harmed her son and therefore shouldn't have her parental rights revoked.

Appellate judges have asked the Supreme Court to review the current law and whether Sousa should have rights to her son.

The girl's father, Carlos Jimenes Martins, now has custody of her. He named her Sarah Jimenes Carvalho.

Carlos Jimenes Martins holds daughter, Sarah Jimenes Carvalho, in April 2020
Carlos Jimenes Martins holds his daughter, Sarah Jimenes Carvalho, in April 2020, nearly a year after she was found in a West Boca Raton dumpster.

WPTV's Miranda Christian spoke with the father and daughter last year, just before she turned 1.

Martins said the fact that she survived is a miracle.

"Her life was already a miracle, but when God wants something, nothing can prevent that from happening," he said in April 2020.

A date for Sousa's trial has not been determined.