A 26-year-old pregnant woman, Michelle Wilkins, from Longmont, Colorado has survived a horrifying encounter with Craigslister Dynel Lane, a 34-year-old woman who takes what she wants – no matter what the cost. Wilkins responded to Lane’s newborn baby clothes listing on Craigslist on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. She sent Lane a text message and then drove to her home to purchase the clothing. Shortly after arriving at the home, she was attacked by Lane, beaten and stabbed. Then the attacker did something unimaginable – she “removed” the fetus from her victim’s body.
Wilkins was left on the floor, wounded and bleeding profusely, while Lane took the fetus upstairs and placed it in a bathtub. At this time, Lane’s husband, 35-year-old David Ridley, returned home early from work to find his wife “covered in blood”. Lane told her husband that she had just miscarried. Ridley rushed into the bathroom and found “a small baby lying in the bathtub.” He told police he rolled the baby over to see it take a gasping breath. Apparently unaware that Wilkins was in another room bleeding to death, Ridley wrapped the baby in a towel and drove Lane and the victim’s fetus to the Longmont United Hospital.
Back at the home, Wilkins was able to call 911 after the attack. As responding officers approached Lane’s home at 1630 Green Place, they could “hear a female calling for help inside the home.” Officers entered the home and found Wilkins falling in and out of consciousness, barely able to speak. They rushed the victim, who had been seven months pregnant, to Longmont United Hospital (same hospital her attacker was taking the fetus to) where she underwent surgical procedures to close up her wounds. While in surgery, hospital officials noticed the unusual incision on Wilkin’s stomach and noted that it was characteristic of a cesarean surgery.
Meanwhile, in another room, doctors worked on Lane whom they thought had just delivered a baby. They noted there was no vaginal bleeding or any other signs that she had recently given birth. Putting two and two together, they informed police about the woman who had entered the hospital carrying the dying fetus. Lane was arrested on suspicion of attempted first-degree murder, first degree assault, and child abuse knowingly/recklessly resulting in death.
Formal charges are pending clarification of Colorado laws involving unborn babies. Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett explained to the Denver Post:
“The issue of whether or not murder charges are appropriate involving a case involving the death of a fetus or a late-term pregnancy is always a difficult issue. Under Colorado law, essentially, there’s no way murder charges can be brought if it’s not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother for some period of time. I don’t know the answer yet as to whether that can be established, what our facts are here”
Authorities learned that Lane had told her family months earlier that she was pregnant (even showing them an ultrasound of a baby boy). In fact, her husband had returned home early that day to take her to a prenatal doctor appointment. Police noted that in July 2002, Lane had apparently lost a 19-month-old son to accidental drowning in a small pond.
Official statement from Michelle Wilkins family (released to Longmont Times-Call)
The following statement was released to the Longmont-Times Call on Friday, March 20, 2015, two days after the attack.
We want to thank the Longmont Public Safety Department and Boulder County Sheriff’s Office for their tireless work and efforts. They represent Colorado’s finest and we sincerely appreciate everything they have done.
We are grateful for the physicians and staff at Longmont United Hospital and the compassionate care they are providing. In addition, we are thankful for the outpouring of love and support from the local community and others who have expressed their condolences. We know you are grieving too, and we truly appreciate the support. In addition, we wish to extend a thank you to the media for your support over the past 24-hours.
Michelle is in critical but stable condition and resting comfortably.
We ask in this time of unimaginable sorrow, that the media and the public respect our need to grieve, recover and heal.
Wilkin’s 911 call transcript
I’ve transcribed parts of the 911 call between Wilkins and emergency services. Kudos to the 911 operator who was knowledgeable, professional, and played a critical role in saving Wilkin’s life. You can listen to the actual 911 call here:
Operator [after finally getting the address from the victim]: “OK, tell me what happened.”
Wilkins [barely audible, obviously nearing unconsciousness]: “She cut me.”
Operator interrupts: “Who cut you?”
Wilkins: “I don’t know. Please help me. Please. I’m downstairs.”
Wilkins: “A girl [garbled] buying a dress.”
Operator: “What did she cut you with?”
Wilkins: “A knife. I’m pregnant. My stomach.”
Operator: “She cut you in your stomach?”
Wilkins: “Uh-huh. I’m pregnant.”
Operator: “What is the suspect’s name?”
Wilkins: “Uhh… [long pause] I don’t remember.”
Operator: “OK, hang on. I’m getting everyone out to you.”
Wilkins: “Help. Please help me. I’m bleeding out.”
[Operator makes call to units with directions]
Operator: “Can you get a towel or anything you can get and press against the wound. How far along are you?”
Wilkins: “[groans] Ummm… Sev… Seven months.”
Operator: “Are you alone in the house.”
Wilkins: “Ahhhh… Ummmm… [groans] I don’t know. [Wilkins grows silent]”
Operator: “You stay with me. Don’t you go to sleep. You’re going to stay with me. You’re downstairs near the basement?”
Wilkins: “[obviously near passing out] I locked the door.”
Operator: “Michelle, don’t you go to sleep, OK? You stay on the phone with me.”
Wilkins: “[heavy breathing] Help… Help…”
Official arrest report
Below is a copy of the official Boulder Country arrest report.
Dynel Lane Boulder County arrest report (PDF)
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