$2 Million Bond Set for CO Woman in Womb Cutting Case

Who does something like this?

According to the arrest warrant, Dynel Lane, the mother of two teenagers, told her family she was pregnant. In December, 4 months ago, she showed them ultrasound photos. She once worked as some kind of nurse. She put an ad on Craig's list to sell baby clothes. An expectant mother, 7 months pregnant responded. When she arrives at Lane's home, Lane beats her and then performs a caesarian section on her with a three inch knife, taking out the baby. Lane puts the baby in the bathtub upstairs, leaving the expectant mother bleeding the bed in the basement.

Lane's husband comes home early from work, around 2:15 pm to take her to a pre-natal appointment. (Apparently he never noticed his wife wasn't pregnant.) When he got there, he starts to go down to the basement when suddenly Dynel Lane "turns a corner" and appears. She has blood on her. She tells him she had a miscarriage and the baby was upstairs in the tub. He runs upstairs and finds the baby in the tub. He said the baby gave a gasp. They leave to take the baby to the hospital. [More...]

He deposits her and the baby in the emergency room, and then goes back home because Dynel's teenage daughters were expected to be coming home from school. (Teenage daughters can't stay alone for an hour or two during a medical emergency?) I wonder what she told him on the way to the hospital, and if that was what propelled him to rush home after dropping her off. Did he want to clean up the house and his car before the kids got home? I have no idea.

While the couple were gone (and before the daughters arrived), the expectant mother managed to call the police. They arrive and find her covered with blood on a bed in the basement. They question her about why she went to the house. They notice a trail of blood leading to the utility room. They go to the utility room and find bloody towels in the washing machine, still going through the wash cycle. They notice a trail of blood from the utility room to the upstairs bathroom. They send the victim to the hospital.

The husband arrives back home to meet the daughters and police are there. Police figure out the baby he rushed to the hospital with his wife belongs to the bleeding woman they found on the bed. There's blood all over his car. They call the hospital. The doctor says the woman will be okay, and whoever did the c-section had did a pretty good job. He says the person would have had to have done some research to achieve such a high level of accuracy.

A female officer at the hospital checks out Lane and sees no blood in her v*ginal area or signs of having recently given birth. Lane refuses an internal exam by the hospital staff.

The officer notices cuts on Lane's hands, and Lane confesses she cut the pregnant woman open to take her baby. They get a search warrant for Lane's person and send her for medical tests. After that, they send her to Boulder Community Hospital (not the jail -- was this for a psych eval?)

Lane appeared in court today. Her bail was set at $2 million.

The media of course is interested in whether the unborn baby can be a person to sustain murder charges. According to police, the baby was viable at 7 months. But the law in Colorado is that in homicide cases, the victim had to have been born and be alive at the time of the homicidal act.


(1) "Homicide" means the killing of a person by another.

(2) "Person", when referring to the victim of a homicide, means a human being who had been born and was alive at the time of the homicidal act.

From a 2009 case, People v. Lage, 232 P.3d 138 (Colo. App. 2009).

"Person" does not include a fetus, even if the child is born following the injury which ultimately results in its death. "Born and was alive at the time of the homicidal act" is clear and unambiguous in its temporal limitation.

According to the DA, question will be whether the baby was alive when it was removed from the womb. (no link because all the sources have autoplay videos.)

"Under Colorado law, there's no way murder charges can be brought if it is not established that the fetus lived as a child outside the body of the mother for some period of time. I don't know the answer yet as to whether that could be established – what our facts are here.

My lingering question is whether Lane administered any anesthetic to the woman before cutting her open. If she didn't, can she be charged with torture? Probably not. I don't think Colorado has a specific torture statute that covers adult victims who don't die. (It has statutes criminalizing torture of animals and children. And torture can be an aggravating factor in a homicide case to justify the death penalty.

So who does something like this? In my view, someone who is psychotic and/or delusional. I don't know enough about Lane to know if she is either, but given the facts in the police affidavit, it sure seems like her mental state will be critical to any defense strategy.

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    Terrible story, on so many levels. (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Anne on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 08:40:16 AM EST
    First, how horrifying for the expectant mother, to be sliced open, have her baby ripped out of her, and be left to die.  She's lucky to be alive, but probably not feeling so lucky that her baby is dead.

    Second, all the reports I've read said that Ridley, Lane's husband, told police that when he found the baby in the tub, he rubbed its back and the baby took a gasping breath.  I'm sure the medical examiner will be able to tell whether that's true, and then we'll know whether a charge of murder is appropriate.

    Third, there have been other cases like this, and in many of them, the woman is desperate to give her husband a baby of his own, in the belief that somehow, if she doesn't, the marriage will fail.  No woman who would think she could successfully fake a pregnancy and obtain a baby to pass off as her own is mentally stable; I'm not a psychiatrist, but I suspect there are deeply rooted mental issues at work here, because there isn't one aspect of the elaborate fabrication that is rational.

    Fourth, as for Ridley not knowing Lane wasn't pregnant, it's not like most women even look pregnant until well into their second trimester.  If Ridley thought his wife was only 3-4 months pregnant, it would not be odd for her not to appear pregnant at that stage.  I don't know how pregnant she was trying to pass herself off as, or how she planned to reconcile that with suddenly producing a baby - that it all made sense to her is why it's pretty obvious this woman has some mental issues.

    Finally, this is why people should be wary of answering ads on Craigslist - or any other classified ad - without taking precautions: meeting at a public location, taking someone else with you, at least telling someone where you're going.  

    Who knows why people do what they do? (none / 0) (#1)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 07:21:32 AM EST
    I had a great-uncle, married to my grandmother's sister, who back in the 1940s concocted a very elaborate hoax over the course of a number of months, which culminated in his faking his own suicide. He had apparently decided, for some reason known only to himself, that he was such a louse, his family would likely be better off without him. He was eventually discovered by the authorities a few years later, living the non-descript life of a machine shop worker under an assumed identity in California's Central Valley.

    (Unfortunately for my great-uncle, the man whose identity he had assumed just so happened to have been very much alive at the time. He was a bank manager in Santa Monica -- where my great-uncle had lived prior to disappearing -- who had developed a taste for grand larceny, which had subsequently caused him to go on the lam for obvious but entirely different reasons. Thus, my great-uncle was arrested in Turlock, CA when detectives eventually tracked down the false lead he had inadvertently created with his stolen identity.)

    My point is that some people suffer from severe clinical depression, which can cause otherwise sane-appearing people to do some crazy-a$$ed  stuff. We really know so very little about this insidious form of mental illness, which has been further stigmatized by society for so long that those who suffer from it often do so in silence, until their illness manifests itself in some extreme behaviors or acts.

    I hope Dynel Lane gets the psychiatric help she so desperately needs. But while her behavior led to a violent assault that resulted in the involuntary termination of another women's pregnancy, there are very few true sociopaths.  She's been swept up by a legal system which is generally ill-suited to the task of assessing someone's mental and / or emotional capacities, for purposes of determining legal culpability.


    my question is (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by nyjets on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 07:35:23 AM EST
    why assume she has mental issues. Maybe she is just not a nice person who choose to perform an evil act.

    Because a Sane Person... (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 08:21:35 AM EST
    ...would have realized that there was absolutely no chance of her getting away with it.

    Exactly. (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 12:16:08 PM EST
    There's nothing in Dynel Lane's background which suggests that she's otherwise heartless and cruel. While elements of the crime strongly imply her advanced medical-level knowledge of anatomy, nobody in their right mind would use that knowledge to commit such a depraved and horrible act.

    again you do not know that (none / 0) (#13)
    by nyjets on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 12:23:36 PM EST
    There are some people out there that are not good. And they are very good at hiding it.
     Some people are perfect normal mentally speaking who happen to do bad things.

    If they "happen to do" (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Zorba on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 12:27:37 PM EST
    such bad things, then they are not perfectly normal, mentally speaking.  By definition.

    my question then (none / 0) (#15)
    by nyjets on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 12:34:22 PM EST
    My question then is why is it considered normal to do good things and not normal to do bad things.

    Personal responsibility has to come into the play at some point. It is not right to simply blame someone decision to do bad things on mental problems.


    of course it's not right (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 02:11:49 PM EST
    but the question of intent and mental state is critical to legal culpability and affects issues of punishment. Sentencing is not a one size fits all process. That would not be justice. Individual characteristics must be taken into account. The person who intentionally commits a heinous act out of cruelty or for profit may deserve a greater penalty than the person who commits the heinous act due to mental instability.

    Actually, in Lane's background, (none / 0) (#16)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 12:55:21 PM EST
    she lost one of her own children. The boy drowned in a lake with no one around.

    The boy was 19 mo old. 19 mo old with no supervision with a lake nearby?

    there was no indication of foul play (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 01:55:49 PM EST
    He was with the other kids. She was nearby. She tried to resuscitate him. She was distraught for a long time -- her father says for years. Her ex husband, the boys father, says she was always a "normal person." To me, it's 's more likely that tragedy led to her fixation with having another child and caused her current issues than reason to suspect her of foul play. In any event, since there's no indication it was foul play, please don't suggest there was. It's guilt-mongering.

    Probably so. Here is something new: (none / 0) (#22)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 02:28:41 PM EST
    In January, a friend of Lane's husband wrote a post on a private Facebook page for breastfeeding mothers, asking for advice on about her friend's wife who had a suspicious pregnancy.

    She posted: "I have a friend whose wife is pregnant and he confided on (sic) my fiancé that she refuses to go to the doctor. Her whole pregnancy has been sketchy...She supposedly had a hysterectomy but then got pregnant (which I know CAN happen) and she wouldn't let him go to the doctors with her. Then she was supposedly due mid November then mid December. Here it is mid January and still no baby...I'm confused. Is it considered child endangerment if she won't go to the doctor? I don't know how long it's been but her husband is concerned."

    A woman who saw that post, Elizabeth Petrucelli, responded, "This is a RED FLAG for me. She may be attempting to find someone whom she can 'get' a baby from in order to present this to her husband."

    Petrucelli used to work security at a hospital and was trained on how to spot a mother who might want to abduct a newborn. She is also a bereavement doula, someone who supports families through pregnancy and infant loss, and responded with what now seems like a chilling prediction.

    "She has likely made this up, maybe because she is grieving her lost uterus and the fact that she can no longer carry a baby in her womb. My concern would be for any pregnant woman being around her because if she is desperate, she may do the unmentionable and harm the mother and take the baby," Petrucelli said. (Read more about this Facebook conversation.)

    Child neglect unless the other children (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 03:10:02 PM EST
    included one old enough and responsible enough to watch the 19 month old.

    The other children were young, (none / 0) (#26)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 03:19:41 PM EST
    single digits, iirc.

    4th of July, 2002. (none / 0) (#27)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 03:27:30 PM EST
    Lane's then-husband wasn't home at the time of the drowning, the newspaper reported. She and their two daughters, then 5 and 3, searched for the boy until they found him in the fish pond.

    He had been playing with his sisters while their mother was busy in another part of the house, the newspaper said.

    You'd be surprised (none / 0) (#24)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 03:07:19 PM EST
    how often something like that happens.  It usually doesn't get more than local coverage unless some other neglect or crime comes up during the investigation, then it will get regional or national coverage.

    My cousin's (none / 0) (#9)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 08:55:32 AM EST
    husband did something similar. He left his motorcycle on a bridge, a high bridge with a body of deep water that traveled out ot the ocean. So no body was ever found and they didn't think it likely that it would ever be found. So my cousin got survivor benefits from social security for her child. Years later she got a letter from the social security administration saying that she had to pay the money back. She was like what the heck??? Ends up he had faked his suicide and was living all the way on the other side of the country in either Washington state or Oregon. I guess he finally started using his own social security number for work and it flagged social security.

    All I can say after reading this is (none / 0) (#3)
    by vicndabx on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 07:59:41 AM EST

    This is a crazy story. You'd almost have to/want to believe a pregnant woman has severe mental issues if she'd do that to another pregnant woman.

    The suspect was not pregnant. She was faking (none / 0) (#5)
    by oculus on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 08:26:52 AM EST
    it.  Per a news article last night. Her husband stated sh i a normal person, which is interesting. He also said the baby bdrew a breath.

    it was her ex husband who said (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 01:56:54 PM EST
    she was always a normal person. It was the current husband who said the baby drew a last gasp.

    There was something (none / 0) (#7)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 08:47:53 AM EST
    similar to this that has happened before. Somebody was using wanting to give this woman baby clothes and then kidnapped the pregnant woman and cut her open. I wish I could recall more details.

    One way to test if the child breathed (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 08:50:57 AM EST
    after being ripped from its' mothers' womb is to take a sample of lung tissue and put it in a small container of water.  If the lungs took in air, the tissue will float.  If it sinks, there was no breathing by said child.

    Shortly thereafter, Lane's husband, David Ridley, arrived at the home. He said he and Lane live there with her two teenaged daughters.

    Ridley told investigators he'd found Lane covered in blood. She told him she'd just miscarried and showed him a small baby lying in the bathtub. An excerpt from the report adds: "He rubbed the baby slightly, then rolled it over to hear and see it take a gasping breath."

    My lingering question is whether Lane administered any anesthetic to the woman before cutting her open. If she didn't, can she be charged with torture? Probably not.
    I would agree, probably not. Otherwise every stabbing assault could be torture. Shooting as well.

    I don't think that's the reason (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 02:05:25 PM EST
    there is no torture statute. A stabbing and shooting that resulted in immediate death is not torture. It's just killing. It's torture when the victim is stabbed slowly with a small knife over a period of time and doesn't die immediately and is left unattended to writhe in pain. Same for a shooting. Shooting a person in the elbow and knee and leaving them in pain on the ground before the final kill shot would be torture. A shot to the head with immediate death is not torture.

    I think the law could penalize torture based on the suffering without encompassing every stabbing and shooting.  


    that didn't result in death. I guess it goes to intent?

    None of those causes necessarily result (none / 0) (#29)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Mar 21, 2015 at 03:43:22 PM EST
    in "immediate death."  It takes time to bleed out enough to become unconscious.  15 seconds is quick but that's 15 seconds of hell if you're aware of what's coming.

    That someone doesn't survive to report how a rapid dying process feels is not proof that the person or his disjoint or dissociated remnants feel nothing.


    The media ... namely, the Denver Post (none / 0) (#28)
    by christinep on Fri Mar 20, 2015 at 07:25:57 PM EST
    The Post this morning ran an editorial on the matter...a direct point made in that lead editorial was that the DA should give "serious consideration" to lodging a murder charge in the case. With less than a day having passed, lots of info blanks to be filled in even preliminarily, and with no indication apparently to suggest that the DA is not capable of weighing the matter, the Denver Post charges in.

    A couple things about the provocative push from the Denver Post: (1) I would think that a key matter--in addition to the autopsy report and opinions from experts--would involve not just the initially reported claim of a distraught spouse as to the observation about breathing or breath but also the stability/steadfastness/credibility of such a key witness PRIOR to a newspaper making a public push. (2) Perhaps my antenna is not working well, but it strikes me that the question of murder in the circumstances leads directly to hyperbolic claims about viability that goes much beyond the instant case ... politically, my gut tells me, this is an invite for all shades of extremism.  So--I would hope that any murder charge--and any premature push for one--is very carefully weighed in terms of the elements that must be established rather than what we may want to see established.  

    It was an exceedingly horrible and horrifying act.  The community's hearts go out to the victim. It is hard to comprehend.  The Denver Post's publicity push, tho, does not do the tragedy justice.