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35-year-old west Boca woman denied bond after baby found alive in dumpster

Cops: Woman delivered baby, placed it in bag
Rafaelle Alessandra Carbalho Sousa
Rafaelle Sousa
Posted at 4:48 AM, May 10, 2019

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A 35-year-old woman was arrested Thursday night after a baby was found alive in a suburban Boca Raton dumpster on Wednesday.

The suspect, Rafaelle Alessandra Carbalho Sousa, was booked at 10:57 p.m. and faces charges of attempted felony murder and child abuse. PBSO detectives said Sousa admitted to delivering the baby, placing the infant girl in a white plastic bag and putting her in the dumpster.

Investigators said that bag also contained household garbage and coffee grounds and a yellow and white bag was wrapped around the baby's head and face.

Sousa said she tried to get the baby to respond and waited three hours to see if the baby would breathe, according to a probable cause affidavit. She said she went back to the dumpster twice to make sure the baby was dead but didn't come close because there were people in the parking area near the dumpster, the report stated.

Investigators said they were able to track down Sousa after finding a receipt to a beauty supply store in a white plastic bag similar to the one containing the newborn. Further research led them to an address in front of the dumpster.

Jessica Reyes works at Fantastic Beauty Supply. She said she remembers the detectives coming in on Wednesday and said Sousa came into the store on Tuesday.

“They found her like that,” said Reyes.

She said they were able to help investigators because their computer system stores client names and phone numbers.

“We have to put in the client's information where we have to process the order for them,” added Reyes.

Neighbors at the apartment complex said they had no idea Sousa was pregnant.

“Why didn't she tell me she was pregnant, because nobody knew she was pregnant, so that is very sad,” said Dianne.

Dianne said she spoke with Sousa on Wednesday and she was acting normally.

“‘Hi neighbor how are you?' and then we are like talking and then she says, ‘Do you see how many police are around?' ” said Dianne.

The mother of three said she was upset and shocked over the arrest.

“When I was breastfeeding him I was thinking about the girl, she will never know what it is.”

Sousa was denied bond during a court hearing Friday morning.

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According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, two maintenance workers were walking at the Alister apartments, located at 10235 Boca Entrada Blvd., around 9 a.m. Wednesday and heard what sounded like a baby crying.

That is when they found a newborn baby girl alive in a dumpster.

PBSO said Thursday the baby is 6 pounds, 8 ounces and in good health.

A Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said there is evidence the baby was born Wednesday, and the umbilical cord was still attached.

MORE: 'Safe Haven baby' now teen has message for pregnant women in difficult situations

Under Florida law, unwanted newborns can be dropped off anonymously at a hospital or fire station with no questions asked.

Fire Rescue will transport the child to the nearest hospital for medical care. Since the program’s inception in 2000, 18 newborns have been turned over in Palm Beach County.

Click here for more information about the "Safe Haven" program.