BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
The McDonald’s employee who gave birth in a restaurant restroom denied to police that she tried to drown the newborn in a toilet, a Redwood City police detective testified yesterday (May 16).
Sarah Lockner, 26, of Redwood City, told police that she didn’t realize she was pregnant when she began experiencing stomach cramps and started to feel warm and fatigued, according to court testimony yesterday by Detective Mark Alifano.
Alifano said he was told by Lockner that she felt like she needed to use the restroom and that she had very painful menstrual cramps. But after using the restroom, Lockner noticed an umbilical cord and a newborn baby boy face down in the toilet.
She said she picked him up, wiped his face and placed him back into the toilet, face up, according to Alifano.
Lockner told the detective that she gave birth to another son, Andrew, in a similar fashion three years ago at home. Both times, she wasn’t aware she was pregnant before giving birth, Lockner said.
According to Alifano, Lockner felt Andrew kick her while she was giving birth and he was crying. But the baby she delivered on Sept. 4, later named Adrian, did not cry.
According to Alifano, Lockner felt panicked, and repeated “shoulda, coulda, woulda, I’m just stupid,” when asked about her actions.
At one point, one of Lockner’s fellow employees at the restaurant at 185 Chestnut St. entered the bathroom and looked over the stall to see Lockner with her hand on the baby’s back. But the employee could not tell what Lockner was doing, whether she was pushing the baby down, trying to pick it up or just resting her hand on the baby, according to Detective David Cirina, who interviewed some of Lockner’s co-workers.
At that point, the co-worker asked Lockner if she was trying to kill the baby, to which Lockner told her no, according to Alifano.
The co-worker then told Lockner she was going to call the police.
Tried to leave without the baby
Lockner told the co-worker not to call the police, according to Cirina. She then was seen leaving the bathroom without the baby, and tried to leave the restaurant when she was stopped by the arriving police officers.
It was one of Lockner’s co-workers who used her apron to pick the baby up out of the toilet and held it until police and paramedics arrived, according to Detective Jesus Castro.
The baby, Adrian, was treated at Stanford Hospital and did not have a pulse when paramedics arrived and was placed in a coma. But in the eight months since being born, Adrian does not appear to have any disabilities, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the Post last month. Adrian is living with an aunt, he said.
While Adrian appears healthy, it is possible some disabilities may appear as the child grows, Wagstaffe said.
The testimony came yesterday in a preliminary hearing, where Judge Mark Forcum will determine if there is probable cause to bind Lockner over for trial. Lockner is charged with attempted murder and child abuse, both resulting in great bodily injury.
Lockner appeared in court yesterday, wearing a red jumpsuit, black rectangular glasses and her hair in a bun. According to Sheriff’s spokeswoman Detective Rosemerry Blankswade, inmates in red jumpsuits are either in protective custody or at high risk of either self-harm or harming others.
Lockner had appeared to be wearing a medical bracelet, meaning she could have been in the jail’s medical ward. Typically, inmates who are either at a high risk or in protective custody are kept separate from the rest of the jail’s population, Blankswade said.
Expert to testify
The hearing will continue this morning. Alifano will be cross-examined by Lockner’s attorney, Jonathan McDougall. Following the cross examination, McDougall will begin calling his witnesses. He is expected to put an expert witness on the stand who is knowledgeable about the phenomena of women who aren’t aware that they are pregnant, said Wagstaffe.
While typically all of this information is reserved for a jury trial, McDougall is presenting the majority of the evidence now in an attempt to convince the district attorney to lessen the charges against his client.
Wagstaffe said on April 18 that McDougall’s investigation “paints a different picture today than there was the day of her arrest.”