By Shereen Siewert
SHAWANO — A 22-year-old Shawano woman wanted to hide the death of her infant son to avoid being jailed for unpaid traffic fines, according to court documents.
Catherine R. Barker faces charges filed Oct. 5 in Shawano County Circuit Court of failure to report the death of a child; child neglect where the consequences is death; and attempting to move, hide, or bury the corpse of a child. She is being held in the Shawano County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond.
Police were called Sept. 28 to a Shawano home to investigate a report of a child who had died, according to the incident report. Officers discovered the two-month-old boy dead in a bassinet on top of a garbage bag. The child’s mother, Barker, told police she awoke to find her son not breathing and performed CPR, but did not call for help.
Two witnesses shared with police Facebook messages allegedly sent by Barker in which Barker stated she intended to bury the child so she wouldn’t be taken to jail for unpaid fines. She also allegedly expressed concern that a funeral would be too expensive.
The cause of the child’s death has not been released.
Barker was arrested Thursday and appeared in court Friday. She faces a maximum penalty of up to 41 years in the Wisconsin Prison System and tens of thousands of dollars in fines if she is convicted of all three felony charges.
A preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday.