A Hudson Valley mother has been charged with murder after the "barbaric" death of her newborn baby.

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On Wednesday, Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler and Chief William J. Worden of the City of Port Jervis Police Department announced at a press conference that Nicole H. Layman, 22, of Port Jervis was arrested by detectives from the City of Port Jervis Police Department and charged with murder, in connection with the death of a newborn infant found in a vacant lot.

“Infants are the most innocent of victims,” Hoovler said. “It is hard to comprehend what could drive any mother to kill her own baby by abandoning her in freezing cold conditions in a vacant lot. I am grateful to the City of Port Jervis Police Department for their tireless actions in pursuing this investigation. Help is available within Orange County for those who believe they are unable to care for their children. Consigning an infant to die of exposure is unnecessary, illegal and barbaric."

On Nov. 12, around 10:30 p.m., Port Jervis City police officers responded to a vacant lot located on Orange Street at the intersection with Hornbeck Avenue for a report of a dead infant lying on the ground inside the vacant lot.

Officers responded to the scene and found the dead baby. The baby appeared to have been born recently because the umbilical cord was still attached, police say.

A subsequent investigation revealed the baby girl was born that night and died from exposure to the elements when left in freezing cold conditions in the vacant lot, official say.

It's alleged the child was born alive and that Layman abandoned the baby, in freezing cold temperatures in the vacant lot, where the baby died of exposure.

“The grave nature of the crime for which the defendant is accused has emotionally touched all involved in this investigation and our community at large. I ask for the public to keep baby Sophia Grace Hadden, all who have been directly impacted by her tragic death and our community at large in their thoughts and prayers," Worden said.

An investigation was conducted by the City of Port Jervis Police Department, who were aided by the New York State Police, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The investigation included executing a search warrant at Layman’s home, conducting an autopsy on the deceased infant and obtaining laboratory analysis of tissue samples obtained during the autopsy.

Layman was Tuesday evening and remanded to the Orange County Jail. The matter will be placed before an Orange County Grand Jury. Layman is next scheduled to appear in the City Port Jervis Court on Feb. 24. She faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.

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