Police probe Facebook `babykiller' vigilantes
2007 04:30 AM
Police are investigating an online
group condemning a northern Ontario woman accused of
leaving her baby to die as a "babykiller".
Authorities are worried there may be
a threat to her safety.
The Facebook group, which has about
200 members, advocates Tabitha Etches be chased "out
of town" for the alleged crime and urges members to
show up at her next court date with signs to "show
(their) hate for her."
Some of the obscenity-laced messages
posted on the popular social networking site call
the woman "sick" and "twisted," expressing the hope
that she will "rot in hell" or be beaten in prison.
"We need to make a statement that
five years is not enough time for a crime like
this," one member wrote. "Newborns are people too!"
While no concerns have yet been
raised about Etches' safety, police will look into
the online group immediately, North Bay police Sgt.
Chuck Seguin said yesterday. "Anything that might
present some kind of danger to the accused is
certainly of concern to us, and we don't want any
type of vigilantism going on or any behaviour of
"This is before the criminal courts.
It's not up to other people to decide on guilt or
Etches, 25, has been in custody
since Friday on charges of infanticide and
neglecting to get help in childbirth. Two teens
found the body of a baby boy near a walking trail
March 30. Investigators say the full-term infant,
wrapped in a towel in a plastic bag, was likely
alive when abandoned last winter.
During the investigation, police
canvassed the community for leads, implored the
mother to come forward and released photos of the
orange towel found with the baby in the hopes it
would lead them to her.
The mother was identified through
DNA analysis by the Centre of Forensic Sciences. The
cause of the child's death is not known.
Held at the North Bay Jail, Etches
is expected back in court June 26.