BATAVIA – A 28-year-old Batavia mother who was arrested Saturday after the body of her newborn baby was found in her home was released from custody Tuesday because a medical examiner was unable to determine whether the girl was alive at birth or was stillborn, police said.
However, charges are still pending against Christina M. Colantonio as the investigation continues.
Colantonio, of Liberty Street, who has two other children, was charged with second-degree murder after the baby’s body was found in the home she shared with the other two children. Authorities said that the infant probably was born about three months ago but that her body was not found by an acquaintance of Colantonio until last Thursday.
A statement issued Tuesday by the Police Department said, “Circumstances present when the body was discovered are very indicative of an intentional homicide. However, in order to establish a homicide, we have to prove that a live birth occurred.”
The department said the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office was unable to determine whether the infant was born alive, apparently because of “the lengthy passage of time between delivery and discovery of the body.”
“Without such evidence, we are constitutionally unable to proceed with a grand jury presentation and cannot continue to hold the defendant in custody without doing so,” the police statement continued.
“The charge of murder in the second degree is still pending, and the investigation will continue until a final determination is made.”
Colantonio had been held in Genesee County Jail.
A police spokesman referred additional questions to county District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, who could not be reached to comment Tuesday evening.
Police officials emphasized that Colantonio is presumed innocent unless proven guilty. They said that for the time being, police would grant no more interviews or respond to questions in the case.
They added, however, that more information will be provided “once the next step is taken regarding this case.”