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Mother arrested in death of baby

Authorities say boy was born alive

MILFORD -- A 28-year-old mother accused of killing her newborn son and dumping his body in the trash was arrested yesterday following a five-month investigation.

Allissa Pugh surrendered to authorities in January after trash collectors found her baby in a bag they had loaded into their truck in the Purchase Street neighborhood. She told investigators the baby was stillborn.

But a medical examiner's report indicates the child died from injuries sustained "around the time of birth," Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said in a statement yesterday.

Authorities provided few details about the case at an afternoon news conference at the Milford police station. They would say only that the baby was born at home on Jan. 2 and later placed in a trash bag.

"The baby was alive during birth," Early said. He declined to answer questions about what happened between the baby's birth and the discovery of the body several days later.

A Worcester County grand jury indictment was issued before the arrest yesterday, charging Pugh with involuntary manslaughter and improper disposal of a body. She was taken into custody at the Milford home of her father, whom police did not identify.

Pugh , who lives with a boyfriend and her 8-year-old son, is scheduled to be arraigned this morning in Worcester Superior Court. She could face 23 years in prison if convicted on both counts, Early said.

The charges reflect Pugh's "wanton and reckless disregard for life," Early said.

The indictment, Early said, relies in part on the opinion of medical specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital, who said the extent of the injuries suggested the boy was not stillborn. He would not indicate what type of injuries the child sustained.

Prosecutors did not say who fathered the child, but said they do not expect to charge him. It was not clear last night whether the baby's father was present at the child's birth.

No one was home at the white house on Purchase Street where authorities say Pugh and her son and boyfriend lived . A gas grill, a basketball hoop, and children's sporting equipment sat in the yard.

"She was a very nice lady," said Tony Bucchino , adding that he met Pugh several times while visiting his grandmother at the house next door. Bucchino, who also lives in Milford, said that he would often see Pugh's son playing in the yard and that everything about the family seemed normal.

Town records indicate that two adult brothers also lived at the address. Their identities could not be confirmed.

Two trash collectors discovered the body of a baby in the back of their truck on Jan. 6 as they gathered garbage on Purchase Street. The collectors had been to about 10 houses that Saturday morning and were about to compact the load when they spotted the body. The next day, two people who said they were the baby's parents turned themselves in to Milford police.

In January, Milford's police chief, Thomas O'Loughlin, told the Globe that Pugh had told investigators she thought she was not that far into her pregnancy.

At yesterday's news conference, he said it may seem that the investigation took a long time, but there "wasn't a day that passed" that authorities were not working on the case.

"It was very complex; it's putting together a puzzle," O'Loughlin said yesterday.