Woman accused of throwing fetus in hotel trash can asks for treatment instead of conviction

Fetus was found in Monroe motel.

The trial scheduled to begin this month in Warren County Common Pleas Court for a woman charged for allegedly throwing a fetus into a Monroe motel trash can has been canceled after she filed a request for intervention in lieu of conviction.

Rebecca Houck, 32, was indicted in March 2021 by a Warren County grand jury for gross abuse of a corpse, a fifth-degree felony. The charge stems from an Oct. 9, 2020, incident in which the fetus was found dead at Motel 75 on Garver Road.

The fetus was 23 to 27 weeks, according to the Warren County Coroner’s Office report — not as far along as first believed. The evidence could not prove the girl was born alive.

“It was still considered to be viable, but you didn’t have evidence of a live birth,” said Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell at the time of the indictment. “The only crime we had was dumping the baby girl in the trash can.”

Houck was taken into custody and transported to Warren County in June 2022.

Houck was in common pleas Judge Tim Tepe’s courtroom Tuesday for a hearing on a motion to dismissed the charge in which defense attorneys argued the fetus did not fit the definition of a human corpse, under the law.

Tepe has overruled that motion.

The defense team of attorneys Jonathan McDonald and Yveka Pierre then filed a motion requesting intervention or treatment in lieu of conviction, indicating drug or alcohol usage by Houck as a factor leading to the alleged crime, according to court documents.

Tepe ordered Houck be evaluated to determine her eligibility and a possible appropriate intervention plan be recommended.

Intervention in lieu of conviction means an eligible defendant pleads guilty but agrees to a treatment plan as ordered by the court. If the defendant successfully completes the intervention plan, the judge dismisses the case.

Tepe set a hearing for Feb. 27 on the intervention motion.

Monroe Police responded to the motel at about 10 a.m. that day on a report of a “possible abandoned baby.”

Warren County Coroner’s investigator Doyle Burke, now retired, previously told this news organization that the body of a girl was found in a trash can in one of the rooms. The mother had gone to an area hospital after a 911 call was placed.

Also found in the the room were a clear plastic bag containing two grams of a crystal rock substance, a bag containing white powder, gummy worms laced with an unknown substance and paper tabs laced with an unknown substance, possibly acid, according to the Monroe police report.

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