A South Bend woman pleaded guilty Thursday after giving birth in a hospital bathroom last year and abandoning her baby in a trash can, resulting in serious injuries to the boy.
Jasmin Ritchey, 24, entered the guilty plea to first-degree assault of a child before Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor as part of a plea deal. Prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of attempted first-degree murder against her.
Prosecutors and Ritchey’s defense attorney have agreed to enter a joint recommendation that she serve seven years, nine months in prison when she’s sentenced Sept. 27.
According to Olympia police:
Ritchey was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia via ambulance for help with an unrelated medical complaint July 11, 2011. Without telling anyone she was pregnant, she entered the bathroom and gave birth. She put the child in a plastic bag, which she put in the garbage.
Hospital staff members later checked the bathroom to see what Ritchey had done and found the boy; they were able to resuscitate him. He was treated and later received advanced care at an undisclosed children’s hospital.
South Bend is about 70 miles southwest of Olympia; it’s not clear why Ritchey was in Thurston County.
Washington has a safe-haven law that allows a person to leave a baby, up to 3 days old, with a staff member or volunteer at any fire station, or in the emergency room of any hospital. Police have said the incident involving Ritchey, and another incident last year in Olympia in which a woman gave birth without telling anyone, underscores the need to spread the word about the law.