Mom accused of setting baby afire is held on $500,000 bail
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) A woman accused of dousing her newborn daughter with accelerant, setting her on fire and leaving her in the middle of a road said little in her first court appearance Tuesday, appearing on video to answer to a murder charge.
Hyphernkemberly Dorvilier was read the charge by Superior Court Judge Philip Haines. He maintained her $500,000 bail, which was set after police found her baby in flames Friday night in the middle of a Pemberton Township road and arrested her.
Dorvilier was found with a can of WD-40 and a lighter in her jacket pocket, investigators said. The baby had burns over most of her body, they said in court documents released by Burlington County prosecutors.
Dorvilier, 22, said she was planning to hire a private attorney.
The judge said that if she were to post bail, she would not be released until a psychiatric evaluation was presented to the court.
When the baby was found, she still had the umbilical cord and placenta attached, investigators said. Prosecutors haven't specified a motive for her killing.
There was no answer at the two-story house where Dorvilier lives with her mother and sister on a quiet suburban street in Pemberton, a town of 28,000 residents.
Police responded to a call about a fire on a road in the township, 30 miles east of Philadelphia. When they arrived, they found a neighbor holding Dorvilier down on the ground and the baby wrapped in a smoldering towel and paper, according to the court documents.
"The defendant was interrupted in the act of committing the crime," prosecutor Jim Ronca said.
The baby was alive and breathing when she was flown to a hospital in Philadelphia, but she died two hours later.
Neighbor Dave Joseph, who discovered the burning baby and held Dorvilier down, told police Dorvilier said the baby wasn't hers. Police said they found a trail of blood leading from Dorvilier's home and she appeared to be bleeding while at the hospital afterward.
Dorvilier's mother and sister told police they were unaware of her giving birth, but police said they found blood on the floor of their home's downstairs bathroom.
Joseph said Dorvilier told him she was burning dog waste.
"It was just mind-boggling," Joseph told the Burlington County Times. "It was a nightmare even if you have a strong heart."
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Wednesday night at Browns Mills United Methodist Church. The baby's funeral is planned for Jan. 26 at the church.