Body found at home of Pa. mystery baby suspect
By DAN NEPHIN, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jul 19, 4:10 AM ET
Authorities hope an autopsy can help them identify a woman’s body found with hands bound with duct tape at the apartment of a woman who showed up at a hospital with a newborn she falsely claimed was hers.
The body was found Friday in the bedroom of the Wilkinsburg home of 38-year-old Andrea Curry-Demus, who served time in the 1990s for attacking one mother and kidnapping a second woman’s newborn baby.
On Thursday Curry-Demus allegedly told police she had paid $1,000 for the baby after authorities say tests proved she wasn’t the child’s mother.
Allegheny County Medical Examiner Dr. Karl Williams said the woman had been dead about 24 hours, but Williams said he could not tell if she had recently given birth. The autopsy was scheduled for Saturday.
Some blood was found near the body, Williams said, but he would not say if there were signs of trauma.
Investigators said police checked on Curry-Demus’ apartment after reporters called authorities about a foul odor coming from inside. Wilkinsburg Police Chief Ophelia Coleman said the body was found lying face down.
Police had been at the building Thursday night, but did not go into that apartment, Coleman said. Instead, a relative of Curry-Demus led them to another apartment, she said.
Earlier Friday, police said they were concerned that the infant’s real mother — described as a thin, black female in her 20s or 30s named Tina — might be in danger, or need medical attention.
The description was provided by Curry-Demus but authorities aren’t sure how reliable it is because she “has a history of emotional problems,” Coleman said. The body found Friday was that of a black woman, but Williams said he couldn’t tell how old she was.
The families of two missing pregnant women, both of them black, waited at the crime scene Friday night for police to identify the body.
County detectives, who are now handling the investigation, entered Curry-Demus’ apartment Friday night after obtaining a search warrant.
In 1990, Curry-Demus, then known as Andrea Curry, was accused of stabbing a Wilkinsburg woman in an alleged plot to steal the woman’s infant.
A day after the stabbing, Curry-Demus snatched a 3-week-old baby girl from Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, according to court records reviewed by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The baby was in the hospital to be treated for meningitis and the girl’s 16-year-old mother had gone home for the night when Curry-Demus took the child, court records state. The baby was found unharmed with Curry-Demus at her home the next day.
Curry-Demus pleaded guilty in 1991 to various charges stemming from both incidents and was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison. She was paroled in August 1998 and began serving a 10-year probation term, the Tribune-Review reported.
In the latest case, the mystery started when Curry-Demus showed up at West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh on Thursday with a newborn baby that still had its umbilical cord attached, police said. Tests later proved she was not the mother — despite her claims to the contrary, police said.
Curry-Demus was initially charged Friday with one count of child endangerment. She was later charged with dealing in infant children, a misdemeanor, according to court records. She has been jailed until she posts $10,000 bond and undergoes a psychiatric exam.
Court records did not indicate if she had obtained an attorney; a preliminary hearing was scheduled for Thursday.
Curry-Demus told police she miscarried in June and didn’t want to upset her own mother by telling her she had lost the baby. Curry-Demus said she befriended a pregnant woman and discussed buying her child when it was born, according to the criminal complaint.
Curry-Demus told police she paid a woman named Tina $1,000 for the baby, but authorities have said they don’t know how she got the baby.
A relative and a neighbor both said they had attended a baby shower for Curry-Demus last month.
Stephanie Epps, 41, the suspect’s sister-in-law, said she had doubted the pregnancy.
“I just had a feeling that she wasn’t pregnant,” Epps said. “She would never let you touch her stomach and pregnant women let you do that. … I liked her and I still do like her.”
Ivee Blunt, a neighbor who also was at the shower, said Curry-Demus wanted her in the delivery room when she gave birth.
Blunt said Curry-Demus told her on Sunday night that she expected to have the baby the next day; but on Monday, she said, Curry-Demus told her she wasn’t ready to give birth.