Hanover Park teen pleads not guilty to strangling baby

  • Jessica Cruz

    Jessica Cruz

Updated 12/21/2011 4:01 PM

The Hanover Park teen charged with the slaying of her newborn son last month in a Streamwood store was arraigned Wednesday in Rolling Meadows on charges of first-degree murder and the concealment of a homicide.

Cook County Assistant Public Defender Deana Bienstock entered a not guilty plea on behalf of her client Jessica Cruz, 19, who prosecutors say strangled the full-term baby on Nov. 4 after giving birth to him in an employee restroom at the Salvation Army store.


Prosecutors said Cruz attempted to clean up and then left the store. Surveillance video shows her entering a second store about a half mile away, where prosecutors say she asked to use the restroom. Several witnesses from each store identified Cruz as the woman who used their facilities, prosecutors said.

Cruz, who prosecutors say concealed her pregnancy from everyone except the baby's father, is being held without bail at Cook County Jail. If convicted she could face a sentence ranging from 20 years to life in prison.

Cruz next appears in court on Jan. 25.

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