Expert says pregnancy denial is real; Judge upholds charge against mother accused of drowning baby at McDonald’s

Sarah Lockner

Daily Post Staff Writer

A doctor who specializes in women’s mental health and pregnancy testified yesterday (May 17) that it appears the woman who gave birth in a Redwood City McDonald’s, and then allegedly tried to drown the newborn, was suffering from “pervasive pregnancy denial.”

Dr. Cara Angelotta said “pervasive pregnancy denial” is when a woman lacks the awareness that she is pregnant, despite all of the signs pointing to the contrary.

Sarah Lockner, 26, of Redwood City, appears to suffer from this mental illness, Angelotta testified, which can explain why she acted in the way she did after giving birth to a baby boy on Sept. 4 while working at McDonald’s at 185 Chestnut St. The testimony of Angelotta came in the second day of Lockner’s preliminary hearing in San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City.

Police Detective Mark Alifano testified on Wednesday that 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.

She didn’t appear pregnant

Both Lockner’s boyfriend and his sister also testified yesterday (May 17) and said Lockner did not look pregnant in the days before she gave birth.

Lockner’s boyfriend also said that their first son was a surprise to the couple as well. That son, named Andrew, was also born on a toilet at Lockner’s home.

Some of Lockner’s co-workers also said she did not look pregnant, according to Detective David Cirina, who testified on Wednesday (May 16).

But Judge Mark Forcum yesterday (May 17) upheld the charge of premeditated attempted first-degree murder causing great bodily injury.

Forcum told the courtroom that he believes Lock- ner was aware she was pregnant and had intended to kill the baby.

Lockner faces 10 years to life in prison if found guilty of the charge.

Previously, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe’s office had lodged an additional charge of child abuse against Lockner. But that charge was dropped due to insufficient evidence, according to Wagstaffe.

Boyfriend’s family has custody of boys

Both children are in custody of Lockner’s boyfriend’s sister, who told the court yesterday that the baby born at McDonald’s, named Adrian, is doing well and developing normally.

Lockner remains in jail on $11 million bail and will be back in court on June 1 to be arraigned.

She will also be in court before Forcum on June 2 for her restraining order to be changed to allow for supervised visits with her children. Wagstaffe said it was ruled in family court that Lockner is ready for family visits, but the change still needs to be made in the criminal case.


  1. A shame they dropped the child abuse case. Leaving a newborn in a toilet, face up or face down, is a classic case of child abuse if I’ve ever heard of one. Yes, it was attempted murder, but if she gets off on that one, she needs to be punished for hurting a helpless infant. Terrible!

Comments are closed.