Teen Mom Told Family She Dropped Newborn at Hospital. Then Infant's Body Was Found in Dumpster

Jakayla Ashanti Williams, now 19, has entered an insanity plea in the capital murder case

<p>Dothan Police Department</p> Jakayla Ashanti Williams

Dothan Police Department

Jakayla Ashanti Williams

In August, an Alabama police department received a call from a local hospital, saying a teenager was trying to reclaim her newborn son.

Jakayla Ashanti Williams, then 18, claimed that within hours of her August 13 home birth, she had left her infant in the care of a hospital employee, the Dothan Police Department said in a press release at the time.

But there were no records of Williams leaving the baby at the hospital, which under the state’s Safe Haven Law allow for mothers to leave their uninjured children without fearing legal implications.

And, according to police, authorities determined quickly that Williams had never gone to the hospital but had instead allegedly left her infant for dead in a dumpster outside a local apartment complex.

Almost a year later, Jakayla Ashanti Williams, now 19, has pleaded not guilty of capital murder by reason of mental disease or defect, AL.com reports.

PEOPLE contacted the Circuit Criminal clerk’s office, which confirmed an earlier not guilty plea but did not have a record of the reason.

Under state law, the insanity plea claims that as a result of “severe mental disease or defect,” she “was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness” of killing her child.

To be found not guilty under such a claim, the teen’s lawyers must “prove by clear and convincing evidence” that she was suffering from the mental impairment “at the time of the offense” and that she was either “unable to appreciate the nature and quality” of her acts or “unable to appreciate the wrongfulness” of them, according to the law.

PEOPLE called and emailed Williams’ two defense lawyers for comment on the case and her mental health. Clay Wadsworth and Aimee Cobb Smith did not respond in time for publication.

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The teenager allegedly said around the time of the investigation she did not want a child and caring for the baby would be too expensive, according to police.

Williams’s family did not know the teenager was pregnant, per police, but had learned that she had given birth the day before they took the teen to Southeast Health Medical Center looking for the child August 24.

During a police interview that day, Williams eventually admitted that after giving birth eleven days earlier, she had not taken her son to the hospital but had instead put her baby – wrapped in a blanket – in the dumpster, police allege. She allegedly claimed the baby was alive when she threw him away.

Investigators “sifted through the contents” of the dumpster, finding the remains of a newborn “wrapped in a mattress protector that was in a zipped-up duffel bag,” per police, who noted that after recovering the infant’s remains on August 24, they were sent to a forensics lab to confirm his identity.

Williams was arrested at 4:21 p.m. August 24 and booked on the capital murder charge into Houston County Jail, where she is held without bond, per her online inmate roster.

“This is a horrible case that was very difficult to work and had an impact on the mental health of everyone involved including her family and the officers that worked it,” Police Chief Wiliam Benny tells PEOPLE.

Referencing the state’s “no questions asked” Safe Haven Law, Benny said the infant’s death could have easily been prevented.

“She could have dropped the baby off at the hospital like she claimed to have done with no legal implications,” Benny said, adding that since the case, “Baby Boxes” — which alert firefighters when a baby has been dropped off — have additionally been placed outside the Central Fire Station.

If convicted of capital murder in Alabama, the teenager faces up to the death penalty.

If found not guilty per her insanity plea, AL.com reports that the court would then determine if she should be sent to a mental health facility.

Williams is still awaiting trial and a new court date has not yet been set.

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