Upper Darby police have targeted four people for interviews in the case of a newborn found dead in a car trunk, and yesterday officers talked to two of them, Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.
He declined to identify the individuals or describe their statements concerning the dead infant, except to note that they were "cooperative."
Chitwood has said he believes the woman who gave birth is an 18-year-old Drexel University freshman, the granddaughter of Albert E. Piscopo, 62, who is president and chief executive of the Glenmede Trust Co.
Glenmede is an elite investment firm with $16 billion in assets, according to its Web site. It was founded in 1956 by heirs to the Sun Oil Co. fortune, and manages assets for the benefit of the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Chitwood had earlier suggested that lawyers had impeded police access to family members, a criticism that was disputed by Piscopo's attorney, Arthur T. Donato Jr.
"He wouldn't even have an investigation if we hadn't called," said Donato.
Chitwood's frustration is familiar to those who watch the police and legal procedural dramas that seem to dominate network television.
It is often called "lawyering up," when a suspect or a witness in a criminal investigation refuses to talk to authorities until his or her lawyer approves.
Police tend to believe it puts a crimp in the free flow of information. Defense lawyers say it protects an individual's rights.
"Unfortunately the public at large, when they hear the term lawyer up, automatically has a sense that the person is guilty," said Arthur "Buzz" Shuman, who spent 14 years in the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and is now a criminal defense attorney.
"Many times, perfectly innocent people are best served by keeping their mouths shut. . . . People don't understand that things they say can come back to haunt them."
Chester County Chief Detective Albert DiGiacomo, a longtime Philadelphia police detective commander, said "it's a given" that people's rights need to be protected; however, he said, obtaining evidence as quickly as possible is critical. "The more time goes by, the more likely it is that evidence - whether it be physical or testimonial - will be contaminated," he said.
The case surfaced on Monday after Donato alerted authorities to check the trunk of a Volkswagen Beetle at 1104 Drexel Ave., the home of Piscopo and his wife, Joan.
About 6 p.m., officers found a zippered, pink tote bag that contained bloody towels, clothes, mail, and the corpse of a newborn, his umbilical cord still attached. An autopsy conducted on Tuesday proved inconclusive on whether the 5- to 6-pound male was alive when he was born, Chitwood said. He said the medical examiner is performing further tests, the results of which are not expected until next week.
If the baby was stillborn, the mother still faces charges such as desecration of a corpse, Chitwood said. Piscopo was appointed to the top post at Glenmede in April 2002, after decades of service in multiple roles, including treasurer and chief operating officer.
Glenmede began in 1956, when four children of Joseph N. Pew, the founder of Sun Oil Co., created a vehicle to handle their fortunes. Initially, the company oversaw seven Pew family funds, for which the Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent nonprofit and well-known philanthropic foundation, is the sole beneficiary.
In the 1980s, Glenmede expanded, accepting other wealthy clients. As late as 1997, Glenmede defined affluent as having at least $1 million to invest.
Now, the company specializes in "investment management services for individuals with $3 million or more," and says it manages over "more than $16 billion in assets" for approximately 1,500 clients, according to its Web site. The firm is headquartered in Philadelphia.