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Suburban Boca Raton mother wants confession thrown out in dumpster case

Posted at 1:20 PM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 19:03:15-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — A mother accused of abandoning her newborn baby in a dumpster in suburban Boca Raton last year appeared in court Monday as she fights to have a critical piece of evidence thrown out.

According to a court filing, 35-year-old Rafaelle Alessandra Carbalho Sousa wants her confession to Palm Beach County deputies suppressed, meaning it wouldn't be used against her at trial.

Judge Kirk Volker heard arguments about the confession on Monday.

PBSO said Sousa told investigators she delivered a baby girl on May 8, 2019, then wrapped the newborn in a plastic bag and put her in a dumpster at an apartment complex near Boca Entrada Blvd.

Sousa’s lawyers filed a motion to suppress her statements to PBSO detectives, including that confession. Her lawyer argued that Sousa was not read her Miranda rights properly before speaking with detectives.

Sousa is from Brazil and only speaks and writes in Portuguese.

According to court records, a deputy who spoke Portuguese to Sousa did not advise her "that anything she said would be used against her in a court of law" before investigators questioned her.

Prosecutors argued it wasn't necessary to give Sousa her Miranda rights at the time.

"The Defendant was not in custody at the time of the questioning and therefore Miranda was not necessary," prosecutors said in a written response.

Judge Volker said he'll issue a ruling on the confession later this week.

Sousa has pleaded not guilty to attempted felony murder and child abuse.