A Hudson Valley mother is heading to prison after she left her newborn to die in freezing cold conditions in a vacant lot.

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Monday, 23-year-old Nicole H. Layman of Port Jervis was sentenced to 4 to 15 years in state prison in connection with the death of her newborn infant found in a vacant lot in Port Jervis in November 2019.

Layman pleaded guilty in Orange County Court to second-degree manslaughter in December 2021.

The District Attorney’s Office recommended that she be sentenced to five to fifteen years in state prison.

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“While consigning an infant to die of exposure is, by definition, inexcusable, illegal, and barbaric, I believe that a sentence of five to fifteen years in state prison in this case would strike a just balance between the seriousness of the conduct, and some mitigating factors attributable to this particular defendant,” Hoovler said. “The individual circumstances surrounding an offender’s state of mind, including their capacity to truly appreciate the seriousness of their offense beforehand, and whether or not they engaged in extensive planning, are all proper sentencing considerations."

On Nov. 12, 2019, 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.

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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, officials say.

It was 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 investigation included executing a search warrant at Layman’s residence, conducting an autopsy on the deceased infant, and obtaining laboratory analysis of tissue samples obtained during the autopsy.

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At the time that Layman pleaded guilty, she admitted that she had just given birth to the infant and had left the newborn exposed to the elements without notifying anyone.

The investigation was conducted by the City of Port Jervis Police Department, which were aided by the New York State Police, the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

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