Court docs: Teen wrapped 8-month-old baby in bag, left her in bushes for 3 days

Harriette Hoyt (Photo: WENY)

Elmira, N.Y. (WHAM) - A teenage girl from Pennsylvania is facing attempted murder charges after police say she abandoned a baby in a garbage bag behind a house in Elmira.

Harriette Hoyt, 17, of Sayre, Pennsylvania, is accused of leaving her daughter in a plastic bag for at least three days.

According to court documents, on August 5, Hoyt put the eight-month-old baby into a plastic bag, set her down near some bushes in the back yard of a home on Walnut Street, and left the baby alone for three days without telling anyone.

Documents also claim Hoyt did not attempt to check on the child and did not contact anyone else about her life or safety.

"Based upon our investigation, we believe the 8-month-old was not only unattended, but outside for over 72 hours," Chemung County Assistant DA Terry Northrup said.

The baby was discovered Tuesday afternoon when concerned neighbors heard noises coming from bushes near the home. The neighbors reported hearing the noises earlier, but assumed they were caused by an animal.

"We have reports that people heard noises the night before. They just attributed it to what they believed to be an animal, so they didn't think it was suspicious at that time," said Sgt. William Solt of the Elmira Police Department.

The baby was transferred to Strong Memorial Hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and is in stable condition. Even with the positive outlook for the baby's health, people around the community remain outraged.

"The whole thing was just a total shock. I just stood here with my mouth open," neighbor Earl Courtney said. "It's certainly a tragedy, definitely. We are just hoping the baby is all right."

"I've never heard of anything like this happening here in Elmira, ever. It's just not a good thing," said neighbor Linda Bastion.

Police investigators are calling the crime "unique" and "tragic," adding it's something they're not used to handling.

"it's a very uncommon occurrence here. I've been in law enforcement 15 years and never dealt with anything like this. It's obviously kind of shocking to deal with something like this," Sgt. Solt said.

Hoyt was arraigned Wednesday and had bail set at $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond. She has been remanded to the Chemung County Jail.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for August 14 at 1 p.m.

Police ask anyone with information to call 607-737-5626 or the Elmira Police tip line at 607-271-HALT.

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