Details mount in stealing of baby

Father of suspect said he saw no sign of pregnancy

By Milton J. Valencia
Globe Staff / August 1, 2009

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WARNER, N.H. - The father of Julie Corey, the Massachusetts woman accused of stealing the baby of a friend who was found dead last week, said his daughter showed no signs of pregnancy when she left his home in the spring to return to her boyfriend, even though she had already told others she was expecting.

“If she was, she was hiding it from us,’’ Earl Corey said from his mobile home near a commercial blueberry patch in this rural town about 20 miles west of Concord.

Julie Corey, 35, had lived with her parents for several months over the last year before returning to Worcester and telling acquaintances she was pregnant.

Police believe that Corey never gave birth, that she may have faked her pregnancy, and that the newborn girl she was showing off last weekend was really the daughter of Darlene Haynes, a 23-year-old mother of three who had been eight months pregnant before she was found dead in her Worcester home on Monday, her child ripped from her womb.

With “No Trespassing Signs,’’ posted outside his cluttered yard, Earl Corey asked for the family’s privacy last night, but added: “Our hearts go out to Darlene and her family. They’re in our prayers.’’ He said he had not met Haynes.

Also yesterday, the Globe learned through a law enforcement source that Corey had at least five children of her own, but that she had apparently lost custody of them. She also was once married to a man in California. It was not known yesterday where the children are living or whether the custody was voluntary or forced by child welfare officials. The children were not turned over to her parents.

That Corey never told her family that she was pregnant before reportedly showing up last weekend with the newborn adds another odd turn to the bizarre story of a woman who apparently convinced many in Worcester that she was expecting, even as their suspicions mounted.

Her boyfriend, Alex Dion, 27, told the Boston Herald in a story yesterday that after a split last year, Corey told him she was pregnant. Though she never let him attend a doctor’s visit, Corey called him early the morning of July 24 to say she was having contractions. Within hours, she had returned to their Worcester home, baby in hand, he told the Herald.

Dion told WBZ-TV yesterday that he was fooled. “Either she’s a really good actor, or I’m as stupid as you can be,’’ he said. “She looked like she was pregnant. She had a belly. She showed symptoms. She acted like she had cravings.’’

He felt what he thought was a fetus kicking, Dion said. “I really thought it was. I don’t know what to think. I’m really confused. I feel bad for the baby’s father. I feel bad for Darlene’s family. I wish this never happened. If I had known what happened, I would have turned her in a long time ago.’’

Corey’s neighbors told the Globe that she had kept the newborn close to her as she began showing her off July 24, the day after Haynes was last seen. Haynes’ badly decomposed body was discovered in her bedroom closet. On Tuesday, a medical examiner discovered that she had been pregnant and that the baby had been taken.

An investigation quickly led to Corey, after acquaintances told police of the suspicions surrounding her pregnancy. She never seemed to go to the doctor, and she had repeatedly changed her due date. Corey was arrested at a homeless shelter in New Hampshire on Wednesday and is being held on $2 million cash bail on suspicion of kidnapping. She is fighting extradition to Massachusetts.

She has not been charged in Haynes’s death, which remains under investigation, but law enforcement officials have told the Globe they are considering a motive of a woman so driven to have a baby that she could kill a friend and take one from her womb. Such cases have happened before, for example, in June in Oregon.

Also yesterday, the state Committee for Public Counsel Services appointed former prosecutor Louis P. Aloise to represent Corey on the kidnapping charge.

Aloise, who has handled some of the most high profile cases in Worcester in recent years, said yesterday that he and law partner Michael Wilcox plan to meet with Corey in New Hampshire next week.

Until then, he put authorities on notice that she will not submit to questions unless he is present.

Aloise said that he has not seen any of the evidence in the case, but that the initial proceedings in New Hampshire will focus on whether police have evidence that the baby is Haynes’s daughter.

Police said they plan to conduct DNA tests to confirm the identity of the baby, who has been placed in state custody.

Milton Valencia can be reached at