Ohio Woman’s Miscarriage Leads to Felony ‘Abuse of Corpse’ Case

DATELINE: WARREN, Ohio — A Warren mother accused of abuse of a corpse involving the handling of the miscarriage of her 22-week-old fetus will have her case heard by a Trumbull County grand jury following a Thursday hearing.

Warren Assistant Prosecutor Lewis Guarnieri said the police investigation found that Brittany Watts, 33, miscarried the baby while using the restroom and tried to plunge and flush the remains down the toilet, where it got stuck in the pipes.

Guarnieri said the toilet had to be removed by police and taken to the Trumbull County Coroner’s Office. The fetus was about 22 weeks old when the incident took place on Sept. 22.

✱ Forensic pathologist Dr. George Sterbenz testified an autopsy found no injury to the fetus, and that the unborn fetus had died before passing through the birth canal. He said Watts’ medical records showed she visited the hospital twice before the delivery.

“This fetus was going to be non-viable. It was going to be non-viable because she had premature ruptured membranes — her water had broken early — and the fetus was too young to be delivered,” Sterbenz said.

✱ “The issue isn’t how the child died, when the child died — it’s the fact that the baby was put into a toilet, large enough to clog up a toilet, left in that toilet and she went on [with] her day,” said Warren assistance prosecutor Lewis Guarnieri.

✱ The 33-year-old woman has no criminal record.

✱ According to Guarnieri, section of Ohio Revised Code 2927.01, “no person, except as authorized by law, shall treat a human corpse in a way that would outrage reasonable community sensibilities.”

✱ Defense attorney Tracy Timko said the woman  “suffered a tragic and dangerous miscarriage that jeopardized her own life.  Rather than focusing on healing physically and emotionally, she was arrested and charged with a felony and is fighting for her freedom and her reputation. Miss Watts learned days before this that a miscarriage was inevitable and that the fetus could not survive outside the womb due to gestational age. This fetus died in utero.

“Women miscarry into toilets everyday. If the state of Ohio expects these women to fish those remains from the toilet and deliver them to a hospital, funeral home or crematorium, the laws need changed.” 


According to this site, at 22 weeks, the fetus is almost 10 inches (25 cm) long and weighs about 14 ounces (.4 kg)

Warren* is about a 24 minute drive from Youngstow on what they call the northwest route.

*Warren may best be known for it’s bestiality problem.

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