By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
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By Kyle Swenson
"We found thirteen or fourteen biohazard bags filled with the remains of kids, but nothing to suggest a 20- to 26-week-old infant body was in the clinic," Overton confesses. Slightly leaning forward over the long wooden desk in his Hialeah office, the veteran officer shakes his head with disdain: "We did a very thorough search, and that body was definitely notthere."
Eight days after the alleged incident, authorities received another anonymous tip. The source said the baby's body had been tossed on the roof while the police searched the facility but had since been placed back inside the West Hialeah clinic. Police obtained a second search warrant and raided the facility again. Sure enough, they discovered a badly decomposed female fetus in a biohazard bag, shoved in a nondescript box on the floor one they had previously searched.
By state law, fetal remains must be disposed of according to strict sanitary guidelines. Clinic workers might have been expecting a pick-up service to collect the body, which would explain why it was returned indoors.
"I have never seen anything like this in all my years," Overton laments, eyes flashing with sorrow and rage. "That body was so badly decomposed you could tell it wasn't kept in a cool place ... but it was a baby, not a fetus," he says, adding that the corpse measured approximately twelve inches and weighed between two and three pounds.
Indeed Florida law states a fetus becomes a viable baby at 24 weeks of gestation. According to a fetal weight chart published on www.babycenter.com, the average gestation of a twelve-inch fetus is between 24 and 25 weeks. The average for a baby weighing two pounds is 27 weeks.
According to Overton, this case is about rights. "This isn't about a botched abortion; there never was an abortion, and the mother is not the victim ... she was very nonchalant about it," he asserts in a tone that echoes revulsion. "The victim is the baby, and whether that baby had an hour or eight hours' worth of life, she had a right to that," he says, pounding his index finger on the desk. "Palmetto General Hospital is only five minutes away.
"It is our opinion that this is a homicide, an unlawful killing of a human being."
A Gyn in West Hialeah voluntarily surrendered its license to the state July 31. It has been closed ever since. But a third A Gyn clinic, overseen by Senises, is still in operation. That facility continues to attract patients and plenty of them.
Less than four miles from the now-shuttered West Hialeah clinic is A Gyn Diagnostic Center #3, which Senises opened this past May. And despite the controversy surrounding its sister facility, on recent mornings it was bustling with patrons.
Some of those who journeyed to the dilapidated building located at 267 E. 49th St. arrived with supporters. Others, like nineteen-year-old Maria who asked New Times not print her real name made the trek alone.
The slender, young, doe-eyed woman, whose mother and father hail from the Dominican Republic and Panama respectively, pulled off the busy street shortly after 9:30 a.m. in her mom's silver Chevy. She was moving too quickly to notice that the tattered green awning affixed to the front of the clinic seemed to be hanging on by a solitary nail or that exposed electrical wires poked out from underneath it.
She turned into one of the handful of spaces adjacent to the building barely glancing at the multiple trash bags, used coffee cups, and discarded equipment piled at the facility's back door and parked.
She was late.
"I told him I would meet him here at 9:15," she said nervously, referring to the man whose eight-week-old fetus she was carrying in her womb.
After hastily checking her reflection in the rear-view mirror and dousing her full pink lips with a coat of gloss, she swung open the driver's door and gracefully hopped out. Her blue shorts, tight pink T-shirt, and pale pink flip-flops gave no hint of her pregnancy. And though her flawless mocha skin glistened under the morning sun, the frown line etched into her small forehead suggested she was anxious.
After glancing at her cell phone several times in only one minute, she raised a perfectly French-manicured hand to her forehead and gazed into the distance, silently willing her boyfriend, Javier (also not a real name), to drive into view. The two met in a convenience store this past June, she explained. He is a 31-year-old married Puerto Rican father of three. She is a recent high school graduate who lives with her parents. "He is just such a gentleman, you know, not like most of the idiots my age," Maria professed in heavily accented English, her huge brown eyes glistening with adoration. "I never meet anyone like him."
Javier, who works in construction, took her out to dinner, and soon they began sleeping together. The first time was in his Ford pickup truck. Later they met at friends' houses and motels. Admitting they were not as careful as they could have been, she rubbed her flat stomach: "This was an accident, and my parents will kill me if they find out. But you know how cute this baby would be?"