Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said yesterday that the case of the dead newborn found in a bloody tote bag would have been solved already if the suspect's family were less "affluent and powerful."
Police said the woman who gave birth is an 18-year-old Drexel University freshman and the granddaughter of Albert E. Piscopo, 62, president and chief executive of the Glenmede Trust Co. Chitwood said police have been denied access to family members who have information about the incident.
An attorney for the family disputed Chitwood's complaint. "I am not going to respond to Mike Chitwood anymore," said Piscopo's attorney, Arthur T. Donato Jr. "Any suggestion that we have provided anything other than extraordinary cooperation is just wrong."
An autopsy performed Tuesday did not determine whether the five- to six-pound male was alive when he was born, Chitwood said, adding that further tests are being done. He said authorities also do not know how long the full-term infant was "entombed" in the zippered bag.
"A crime has been committed," said Chitwood. "We just don't know how serious it is; at the very least, we have desecration of a corpse."
The baby, who still had the umbilical cord attached, was found after Donato alerted authorities on Monday afternoon that they would find the body in the trunk of a car at 1104 Drexel Ave. in Drexel Hill.
Chitwood said he would not be surprised if investigators learn that the teen gave birth, "cut the cord and got scared," but he said he's angered that it's taking so long to determine what happened. Donato said he has "legitimate things that I have to do" to protect his client's rights.
"I don't agree that too much time is going by," Donato said, adding that he believed interviews would occur as early as today or tomorrow.
The 2001 Volkswagen Beetle, which was parked in front of the residence of Piscopo and his wife, Joan, is owned by Stephanie Leone, Piscopo's daughter.
Among the items seized by police Monday night from the car were a pink tote bag, two Starbucks cards, a Gucci wallet, and stained seat covers from the driver's and passenger's side, court records said.
During a search of the Leone residence in Drexel Hill on Tuesday, police confiscated material that included two computers and carpet samples from near a basement bathroom. They also took what police termed "one packet of denial of pregnancy." The search warrant did not elaborate on what that was, and police were not available to explain it.
Doris C. Vallone, an associate professor at Widener University, has studied the phenomenon known as "denial of pregnancy" in which typically young girls convince themselves that they cannot be pregnant.
"People tend to focus on the criminal aspect, but there really is another side," said Vallone, adding that it helps explains the behavior but does not excuse it. "Teenagers have magical thinking; they believe if they don't deal with it, it will go away."
Police also executed a search at Drexel University on Tuesday. In a prepared statement, the university said it has been in communication with police and is "cooperating fully" in all investigation efforts.
"The Drexel University community is concerned for the welfare of our student and others that may be affected by this tragedy," the statement said.
The Glenmede Trust, created in 1956 by the heirs of Sun Oil Company founder Joseph N. Pew, manages the Pew Charitable Trusts, a well-known area philanthropic foundation.