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She peeked inside and found it nearly empty. Owen laid the backpack inside, then drove home.
She greeted her parents again and sat down with them to share dinner.
When Aubrey Owen was sentenced last November, the Johnson County courtroom was filled to capacity. Reporters had gathered in front of the Olathe Police Station soon after the dead baby was discovered; in the months that followed, they trailed Owen into court for her hearings. Each report was a chance to recap Owen's seemingly heartless choice to abandon her baby in a Dumpster.
But court documents, Owen's letters from prison and interviews with her friends and family members reveal that the story of Owen's abandoned baby involves three babies and Owen's strained relationship with her own mother.
The day after Owen abandoned Izabella, a garbage worker pulled the backpack out of a dump truck and opened it. A crowd gathered as police and the medical examiner arrived to take away the tiny corpse.
Detectives had a lead. Inside the bag was a note card with Owen's name and Social Security number printed on it.
Two detectives went to Rebecca and Jay Owen's home, where Aubrey Owen broke down, admitting the backpack and the baby were hers.
A few hours later, Olathe Police Detective Bill Wall videotaped Owen in a white interrogation room.
On the tape, Wall repeatedly tells Owen that she may have had a hand in the baby's death, intentional or not. Owen hadn't even visited a doctor during the pregnancy.
"I know," she says, pointing to her head. "I don't think something's right.... Besides the fact that physically I'm not OK and mentally I'm not OK, I just lost a baby."
Wall pushes Owen harder.
"How come you didn't go to the hospital?" he asks.
"My mom is a nurse," Owen answers with a nervous laugh. "I don't know. The whole situation was a one-night stand that a guy had taken advantage of me. I was too drunk and woke up without clothes on. It's not like I wanted people to know about it."
Wall tells her that a rational person might assume she was planning on letting her baby die all along. "I don't think that's morally sane," Owen responds.
During the first day's questioning, Owen appeared certain that Izabella had been stillborn. But after an autopsy the next day, Owen returned to talk with Wall and learned that Izabella had taken at least one breath before dying. Medical Examiner Michael Handler ruled the death a homicide. Had Owen gone to the hospital or called out for help, Handler determined, Izabella probably would have survived.
On a videotape of the next day's interrogation, Wall tells Owen that Izabella was alive. Owen starts shaking. Wall listens as she moans through the memory of the birth, then Wall tells her that it looked as though she never intended to have the baby.
"I feel horrible," Owen's voice cracks through sobs. "It's wrong that I was going to throw her away, but I panicked. Because she was dead. She was not breathing and not shaking, and her face was blue and her hands were blue and her feet were blue. I didn't know what to do. But I didn't deliberately hurt her."