Woman pleads guilty to throwing fetus in hotel trash can, agrees to treatment to nix conviction

Fetus was found in Monroe motel.

A woman accused of throwing a fetus into a Monroe motel trash can has entered into intervention in lieu of conviction plea.

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.

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“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 in January when her defense team requested the intervention motion after their attempt to get the charge dismissed was overruled.

The defense team indicated drug or alcohol usage by Houck as a factor leading to the crime, according to court documents.

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.

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On Monday, Tepe accepted Houck’s guilty plea and ordered her to comply with an intervention program recommended by the probation department.

Houck will be on community control for three to five years and is ordered to have no alcohol in her residence, undergo and complete alcohol/drug treatment program, successfully complete a mental health treatment, pay fine, court costs and restitution and attend all prenatal care appointments for current pregnancy, according to court documents.

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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