DEFIANCE - If Natalia Rose Vogelsong had thought to tie the umbilical cord after she gave birth alone, her daughter probably would have lived - even though the unwed teenager immediately hid the baby under her bed in her family's Hicksville, Ohio, home.
But the baby bled to death through her untied cord while Vogelsong, who suffered such heavy bleeding that she nearly fainted when her mother found her, was transported to a hospital and repeatedly denied to medical workers that she had given birth.
This week 19-year-old Vogelsong, who had planned to be in college now, will instead start a three-year prison term for involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony in connection with the death of her newborn daughter, Maria, in May.
Vogelsong, of 915 East High St., Hicksville, was booked into the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio on Monday after an emotional sentencing in Defiance County Common Pleas Court.
Vogelsong sobbed throughout the court proceedings, in which the father of her baby, 18-year-old Jeff Spangler, and her mother, Pat Vogelsong, spoke on her behalf.
Judge Schmenk sentenced Vogelsong to less than a third of the maximum sentence, which was 10 years. And a charge of endangering children was dismissed.
She has a chance to get out of prison on judicial release after six months. Assistant Defiance County Prosecutor Morris Murray, who handled the case for the state, said he would not actively oppose that.
Vogelsong, according to her lawyer, Peter Seibel, did not realize she was pregnant until she gave birth in the bathroom of her family's home. When the baby came, Vogelsong, who did not want to disappoint her family with an out-of-wedlock birth, decided to hide the baby until she could get dressed and take the infant somewhere to give it up for adoption, Seibel said.
But in the meantime, her mother discovered Vogelsong bleeding heavily and called for medical help. Vogelsong was being treated at a hospital when her brother heard the baby. The baby was flown by medical helicopter to a Fort Wayne hospital. But the infant had already lost too much blood through her cord and died within hours.
After giving birth, Vogelsong started cutting the cord with a fingernail clipper and tore the cord the rest of the way, her lawyer said. Even while she was treated at the hospital, she thought she could get home and take the baby somewhere to give it up for adoption, her lawyer said.
The prosecutor, however, said that Vogelsong could have saved her baby's life by simply telling her mother or a medical worker the truth when she was asked repeatedly whether she had given birth. But instead she opted to try to cover up the birth and caused her daughter's death.
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