A Texas couple face felony charges after their week-old son was found dead in a five-gallon bucket of tar over the weekend, authorities said Wednesday.
Roland Grabowski, 42, and Donna Grabowski, 41, admitted to wrapping their baby boy, Micah, in a blanket, putting him in the bucket and hiding it in a shed behind their home after finding him dead on July 29, according to the Collin County Sheriff’s Office.
The couple reportedly told friends the newborn died of sudden infant death syndrome, although an autopsy to determine cause of death is still pending.
Before confessing, the pair repeatedly tried to hide their son’s death, telling detectives at one point that a family friend was minding the baby, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by local news station WFAA.
Police launched an investigation last week after learning of an infant’s unreported death in the city of Princeton, around 40 miles north of Dallas.
After authorities got in touch, the couple started pressuring friends to aid their deception, according to the arrest warrant.
“I need you to say your baby is ours,” they allegedly texted to a friend. “Quick in and out. They just need to see.”
Donna Grabowski also claimed her son was born at a hospital in nearby McKinney, but officials there have no record of the birth, authorities said.
The couple were arrested late Saturday on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
After being taken into custody, the couple finally admitted that their baby was dead and that they had failed to report it to authorities.
“It’s tragic and it’s sad enough any time we have the death of an infant, but it’s absolutely reprehensible when you lie and you deceive investigators as to the location of the body,” Sheriff Jim Skinner told WFAA.
Detectives obtained a search warrant after the arrest and found the baby in the couple’s backyard shed.
“I’ve been in this business over 30 years and I’ve seen a lot of crazy things,” Skinner told the station. “But this is the first time I’ve found a dead infant in a bucket of tar … and hopefully the last.”
The pair have since been additionally charged with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence with an intent to impair a human corpse, jail records show.
The investigation is ongoing and further charges are expected.
Roland Grabowski is a registered sex offender who served a jail sentence for sexually assaulting two teenage girls aged 12 and 14.
He and his wife are being held respectively on $1 million and $850,000 bond.