No Prison for Redwood City Woman Accused of Trying to Drown Newborn in McDonald’s Toilet

REDWOOD CITY—A 27-year-old Redwood City woman won’t serve any time in prison for holding her newborn baby facedown in a toilet moments after giving birth at a McDonald’s restaurant restroom more than a year and a half ago, prosecutors said.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Garratt placed Sarah Jane Lockner on four years of supervised probation on Friday, May 3. Lockner was also ordered to complete parenting classes.

Lockner was originally charged with attempted murder, but she pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of felony child endangerment on Jan. 14 after Garratt said she would consider imposing a sentence lighter than the four years she had previously offered.

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Sarah Lockner, 26, of Redwood City, faces up to four years in prison for the charge. (Redwood City Police Department)

According to prosecutors, Lockner gave birth to a baby boy while working as a cashier at the McDonald’s on the 100 block of Chestnut Street in Redwood City on Sept. 4, 2017.

Lockner went to the restroom several times with complaints of stomach pain. During one trip, a co-worker noticed blood on the floor, which Lockner reportedly dismissed as her having a “heavy period.”

A second co-worker who went to check on Locker during another visit looked over the stall and saw a newborn facedown in the toilet, with Lockner’s hand on his back, prosecutors said.

As the coworker stepped down, she told investigators she heard the toilet flush.

Lockner reportedly told the co-worker not to call police, but the co-worker did anyway, and responding officers found the baby boy not breathing and without a pulse.

He was rushed to a hospital and placed in a medically induced coma, but has since recovered in an interview earlier this year, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said the child was living with his father’s aunt and meeting all his milestones.

The feet of a newborn baby
A baby in a file photo. (Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

The bathroom birth was the second for Lockner, who delivered a baby at home about five years ago, according to prosecutors. While there was nothing criminal about the first delivery, Lockner reportedly said she did not know she was pregnant either time.

One of The Nation’s Most Serious Concerns

According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (pdf), around 3.5 million children in 2016 were the subjects of at least one maltreatment report to authorities.

“Child abuse is one of the nation’s most serious concerns,” the authors of the report wrote.

About 17 percent of those reports were substantiated, and the department said that there were an estimated 676,000 victims of child abuse and neglect. That amounts to 9.1 victims per 1,000 children.

Children in their first year of life had the highest rate of victimization at 24.8 per 1,000 children, the report said.

About three-fourths of the cases were neglect, and about 18 percent were physical abuse. Some children suffered from multiple forms of maltreatment, the HHS said.

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is available at 1-800-422-4453 or at Childhelp.org.

Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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