Meanwhile, Back in Wisconsin: Womb Jealous Annette Morales-Rodriguez Murders Expectant Mother and The Boy Fetus She Wanted
Yes, this is the big, horrendous news out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin this week. It’s very, very sad. It’s also big news in the Caribbean, in predominantly Spanish-speaking Puerto Rico.
Annette Morales-Rodriguez could not get pregnant by her boyfriend with a much-wanted male child. So Morales-Rodriguez faked a pregnancy, according to authorities, but as her due date neared, she became frantic, dreading the moment that her lie would be exposed. For two weeks, she planned to grab a pregnant woman, any pregnant woman, to get a baby. She drove all around the neighborhood like any predator.
Finally, she abducted Maritza Ramirez-Cruz by innocently offering her a ride home from a non-profit clinic that served Latina women. Usually an avid walker, this time Ramirez-Cruz may have been grateful for the assistance, as she was coming close to term. She may have felt tired or weak. Her family, however, feels haunted by this decision on her part. “Her brother-in-law, Josue Garcia, says she’d never accept a ride from a stranger.”
This kindness, though, made it easy for Morales-Rodriguez to gain her confidence. Ramirez-Cruz may have even rationalized as she got into the car that a woman would not attack her. The older woman did not know Ramirez-Cruz, who was due to give birth October 16. Ramirez-Cruz was the mother of three other children by her Puertorriqueño childhood sweetheart, who brought her and their three children to the Midwest last year for a better life.
Morales-Rodriguez lured the young woman to her home, saying that she had to pick up a couple of items, and seizing the moment beat Ramirez-Cruz in the head repeatedly with a baseball bat and then choked her to death. Using an Exacto knife, Morales-Rodriguez quickly performed a crude Caesarian section, a procedure she saw enacted on the Discovery Channel, to steal the baby.
Unfortunately, as has occurred before in a majority of these cases, Morales-Rodriguez managed to murder the male fetus in her crazed desire to become a mother. The baby was not breathing, so Morales-Rodriguez called 911 and went to the hospital, claiming that she had given birth unassisted at home. However, doctors and hospital officials smelled a rat, especially when she disappeared before submitting to a full examination. While Morales-Rodriguez had smeared blood from the murdered woman onto her legs and vaginal area to throw off suspicion, an autopsy confirmed that the dead fetus was not the product of a natural birth. Morales-Rodriguez was taken into custody by Milwaukee police, examined at the hospital, and when it was determined that she had not been pregnant, she was arrested. The grisly remains of Maritza Ramirez-Cruz were found in the basement of Morales-Rodriguez’ home.
Annette Morales-Rodriguez is currently being held in the Milwaukee County Jail and will be charged with first degree murder of both mother and fetus. The shock is palpable among family members and friends of the murderer and the victims.
[Self-described best friend Maria] Garcia said she was convinced Morales-Ramirez was pregnant, saying she even rubbed her belly. The last time Garcia saw her, on Oct. 3, Morales-Ramirez told her she was going to have a Cesarean section in two weeks. But she also seemed depressed, refusing to come out of her house to even join Garcia for a walk.
“She just wanted to be in the house,” Garcia said, tears filling her eyes. “I’m so confused I don’t know what to do.”
Carlos Mercado, 59, said he couldn’t stand up when he heard Ramirez-Cruz was dead.
“My heart, oh my God, it’s hurting me. I can’t sleep,” he said.
His son[Christian Mercado], who declined to speak with reporters at his home Monday, must now raise the couple’s three children alone without much money, Carlos Mercado said. The oldest child is only six.
“He’ll have to be the mother and father. I don’t know how he’s going to make it. He’s got to grow them up, take them to school, get them in the shower,” Mercado said. “He’s real sad. He’s real hurt.”
It’s horrible all around. Coming to America for a better life, and this happens? I’m sure that Christian Mercado was also expecting that his woman would also work and supplement the family income in minimum wage or other jobs as well as taking care of their children. The baby was to be named Omar.
Ramirez-Cruz had been having contractions and had gone to the doctor Wednesday, [her stepmother Darla] Gutierrez said, and the doctor told her she was dilated 2 centimeters. Mercado thought she might have gone to the hospital, so he called.
But she had not gone to the hospital.
“A missing person’s report was filed with police because it was not like her to be gone that long from her children without a word,” Gutierrez said. Her children are ages 6, 4 and 2.
Mercado, Gutierrez and others started passing around her picture – around the hospital and everywhere. “We were very worried right from the start and looking for her nonstop in hopes of locating her,” she said.
Then police called Mercado to identify her body.
One thing I’ve noticed is that murders like these seems to happen among lower-middle class women and poor women. I think it is an outgrowth of what I think is years of baby worship among Americans. Americans fixate on babies, but they don’t necessarily appreciate what motherhood means. They fixate on new life, sometimes without fully supporting and providing what the child will need to grow, to thrive, and be educated, clothed, and socialized. They all seem to say, later for all that, which is one of my quarrels with the right-to-life movement–and with Nadya Suleiman.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to get responses saying that I hate children or something. I certainly do not hate infants, toddlers or older children. That is not the point. Neither am I putting down women and couples who know what it is to be mothers and parents. I fully support women and couples having wanted children…within reason and with common sense and resources. But it’s also true that many women do have babies as self-expression and to create meaning for themselves by using their bodies.
I think, though, some other women are watching this fecundity with more than a touch of jealousy and anger. The fact is that the attention a mother-to-be gets is not like the attention a mom pushing a carriage with a one- or two-year-old or running around town with a six- or a ten-year-old engenders each day. I think this is part of what triggers the jealousy. Nobody pays attention to them. Nobody appears to care about their lives as well. And what is worse, they don’t care about themselves.
These women want a baby, or they can’t have a baby, or they want a biracial baby, or a girl or a boy. They may already have two or three children themselves and suddenly, they want another. And they are murdering in order to get these babies. There is no color or culture which seems exempt from this behavior, but so far this crime is delineated by class. You don’t hear about upper- or middle-class women pulling this kind of thing.
These women plan these atrocities thinking that they can get away with it. They don’t. And each one thinks that they can.
Nine times out of ten, the infants die after being cut out of the womb, defeating the whole sordid purpose. The expectant mothers die, butchered brutally and horribly. I’m shaking my head as I write this, thinking how can a woman could visit this kind of thing on another woman or another human being–it’s something out of Nazi experimentation. How can anyone not hear screams of someone being done away with? Now it comes out that suspect Julie Corey lived in the same [Massachusetts] building as Darlene Haynes. If it is true that the infant found with Corey is Darlene Haynes’ newborn daughter, then this is only the second child I have heard of to have survived such an ordeal.
Julie Corey is still, at this writing, awaiting trial for the murder of Darlene Haynes and the attempted murder of her baby. She was refused bail.
Annette Morales-Rodriguez faces life without possibility of parole for what she has done. The funeral for her victims, Maritza Ramirez-Cruz and for baby Omar, are scheduled for Friday.
This recent incident, now in Wisconsin, suggests once more that women need to value their lives beyond just being helpmeets and mothers, especially those who are lower-class and poor, or white, black or Latina or Asian. However, this comes too late for Maritza Ramirez-Cruz, and for the other victims around the country from this kind of crime. Kidnapping/luring and murdering an expectant mother for her fetus is uncommon behavior, and when it occurs it always elicits the same shock and horror that a woman would do this kind of thing, but nothing is done about its prevention. I repeat, women must learn how to value their lives. That’s how these crimes will lessen. And it’s got to start right now.