Victim in Critical Condition, Baby is Listed As Stable
Oct. 14, 2005 — - A Pennsylvania woman accused of cutting her pregnant neighbor's belly open in an attempt to steal her unborn child had a bassinet, a baby swing and other baby supplies waiting at home, police said.
Peggy Jo Conner, 38, was arraigned Thursday on charges of attempted aggravated assault in the attack on Valerie Oskin, 30. Conner is being held without bail. State police reported Oskin was in critical condition at Allegheny General Hospital and her baby, delivered by emergency Caesarean section, was stable. Hospital officials would not comment about the condition of mother or child.
"The only indication we have right now was her (Conner's) ultimate goal was to get this child and claim it as her own," said Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi.
Andreassi said tests performed on Conner indicate she was not pregnant, although she had convinced her friends that she was. She told police she was seven months pregnant, according to the criminal complaint.
"She is pregnant," said Thomas Wilks, who said he is Conner's estranged husband. "I got a sonogram saying she is pregnant. I've felt the baby kick numerous times. I've felt the baby kick in her stomach."
Conner is the mother of three children, aged 11, 14 and 16. There is no indication she has a criminal history, according to Andreassi, nor has there been any evidence of mental illness.
Conner's hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
Oskin's 7-year-old son has been placed in protective custody.
There have been several attacks on pregnant women to steal their babies. Bobbie Jo Stinnet, 23, was strangled in Skidmore, Mo., and the baby cut from her body in 2004. Carolyn Simpson, 21, was shot and killed in December 2003. Her fetus was ripped from her body and the baby later died. Theresa Andrews, 23, was shot and her baby delivered in a Caesarean section in 2000. Carethia Curry was shot and killed in 1996 and a fellow teen ripped the full-term baby from her body.