Peach County inmate leaves newborn in toilet

FORT VALLEY — A Roberta woman had a baby Wednesday morning in a toilet in a holding cell of the Peach County Law Enforcement Center, the sheriff said.

“My baby’s in the toilet,” the woman matter of factly told deputies at the intake area of the jail at 8:09 a.m., Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said.

The deputies, who had no idea that the heavyset woman was even pregnant, found the baby upside down and her face submerged in toilet water, Deese said.

The deputies feared that the baby was dead but as they pulled her out and turned her over, she winced, the sheriff said.

“We’re just fortunate they were right there ... . Had any more minutes passed, the baby wouldn’t have stood a chance,” Deese said.

The 7-pound, 6-ounce baby girl was doing well Wednesday afternoon at Houston Medical Center, where she was transported by ambulance, Deese said.

“The baby’s out in the viewing area and looks fine and healthy and is doing great,” Deese said.

The 25-year-old mother, identified by police as Cornelia Kornegay, was expected to be charged with felony cruelty to children and may face additional charges, the sheriff said.

“The question there,” Deese said, “was there an attempt to murder the child or did she think it was already dead?”

Kornegay gave authorities no indication that she was pregnant, having complained only of “bad cramps” Tuesday night and without telling any jail staff she was expecting a baby, Deese said.

A nurse who checked her Tuesday night before having her moved to the holding cell for a doctor to look at her Wednesday also could not tell she was pregnant, the sheriff said.

Kornegay told investigators that she didn’t tell anybody because she didn’t want her parents to know, Deese said.

Kornegay was jailed Feb. 16 on a probation violation for a misdemeanor offense out of Crawford County, the sheriff said. She has one other child, Deese said.

To contact writer Becky Purser, call 923-3109, extension 243.