Pair charged after placenta stolen from Caldwell hospital

CALDWELL -- Two people are facing felony charges after police say they stole a placenta and umbilical cord from West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell.

According to court documents, the theft happened July 3 after after Alexis Buller gave birth at the hospital. West Valley staff called police, telling officers Buller's family had possibly stolen the placenta and umbilical cord to keep the hospital from testing them for drugs.

Surveillance video captured the woman's mother, 39-year-old Rhiannon Stoneham, carrying a bag out of the hospital and putting it in a vehicle. A man later identified as 33-year-old Kevin Stoneham was behind the wheel, police say.

When the pair returned to the hospital, an officer spoke with them.

Rhiannon Stoneham admitted to stealing the placenta and umbilical cord and carrying them out of the hospital in a bag, according to court documents. She told officers she was worried her daughter and the newborn were going to test positive fror methamphetamine.

Rhiannon Stoneham said Kevin Stoneham drove her to the Jack in the Box on 10th Avenue in Caldwell, where she threw the bag in a dumpster.

Kevin Stoneham told police Rhiannon had asked him to take the placenta out of the room, but he refused, and went to his pickup. A short time later, he said, Rhiannon came out with a black bag and asked him to drive her to the Jack in the Box.

He admitted he knew what was inside the bag, and knew that Rhiannon was planning to dispose of it.

A Caldwell Police officer searched the dumpster, and was able to find the bag containing the placenta. Buller tested positive for both amphetamines and methamphetamine.

The Stonehams were arrested and booked into the Canyon County Jail. Rhiannon Stoneham is charged with felony destruction of evidence, while Kevin Stoneham is charged with aiding and abetting destruction of evidence. Both are due in court July 19 for a preliminary hearing.

Caldwell Police also forwarded the case to the Canyon County Prosecutor's Office for possible felony injury to a child charges against Buller.
 

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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