Interrogation video played in Hanover Park woman's trial

  • Jessica Cruz

    Jessica Cruz

 
 
Updated 10/29/2014 7:20 PM

"We're here because we found a baby and that baby was found dead. That baby was your baby. And I want you to explain."

Those were the words Streamwood detective Miguel Cabrales spoke to Jessica Cruz during a videotaped interrogation early on Nov. 8, 2011, four days after prosecutors say the Hanover Park teen strangled her 6-pound, 11-ounce boy, put him in a plastic bag and left him in a trash can minutes after giving birth to him in the restroom of a Salvation Army store in Streamwood.

 

Prosecutors played the interview Wednesday afternoon as Cruz's murder trial concluded its second day.

For more than an hour, Cabrales and Streamwood detective Juan Carillo asked Cruz about the day prosecutors say the then 19-year-old solved the problem of her unwanted pregnancy by intentionally killing her son. Defense attorneys, who will present their case after the prosecution finishes, argue the baby was born dead and Cruz never intended to kill him.

Cabrales did most of the talking, urging the tearful Cruz to tell her side of the story and peppering the conversation with the words "sweetheart" and "hon," which defense attorneys described as terms of endearments.

"It's in your best interest to explain to us ... what you saw, what you felt," Cabrales said during the interview, implying that DNA found at the scene will connect her to the dead infant.

"At that moment, something ugly happened and only you can explain it," he told her on the recording.

Sobbing frequently, Cruz admitted she hid her pregnancy from everyone except the baby's father because she feared her mother would be angry. She also expressed remorse over the grief she said she caused her mother.

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She described feeling sick during a Nov. 4, 2011, shopping trip with her mom and her then-17-month old daughter and excused herself to use the restroom. She told detectives she gave birth in one of the stalls about a half-hour later.

The newborn wasn't moving, Cruz said on the recording. After attempting to clean up, she rejoined her family and "acted like nothing had happened," she said.

During her cross examination of Carillo, Cook County Assistant Public Defender Deana Binstock suggested the police influenced Cruz's statements, pointing out that Cruz initially told Cabrales the baby hadn't moved, but changed her story after talking with him. She also pointed out that her client -- after viewing autopsy photographs of the baby -- seemed to express disbelief at his condition, asking "is that how I tied him?"

Carillo responded, saying that initially, at least, "it's my experience that people who've committed crimes don't tell you the truth."

Testimony continues Thursday in Rolling Meadows.

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