The Rock Hill woman who police say hid her pregnancy from family, then buried her baby boy in the backyard, was convicted two years ago of assaulting her husband after claiming to have been a domestic violence victim herself, court and police records show.
The lawyer for Tara Lynn Ostrowski, who remained jailed without bond Thursday, has promised a “vigorous defense” and investigation on her behalf.
The York County Coroner’s Office has ruled the death a homicide but has not determined a cause of death. Ostrowksi is charged with unlawful neglect of a child after prosecutors said a child fatality task force investigation found no evidence she intentionally killed her son.
An autopsy of the baby, who lived only minutes by Ostrowski’s own admission, revealed the presence of narcotics in his body, according to police records and arrest warrants. Police allege that Ostrowski, 37, smoked methamphetamine and took non-prescribed narcotics before she gave birth in May.
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Police say Ostrowski, 37, admitted to the crime when they questioned her in May after an informant told a mental health worker about the pregnancy and burial.
In 2012, Ostrowski was charged with criminal domestic violence following an incident during which police say she attacked her husband while he slept. York County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report that Ostrowski was yelling and tearing up her in-laws’ home and that she jumped on her husband while he was asleep, according to the original police report.
In that incident, Ostrowski told deputies she and her husband had been arguing and claimed her husband threw her to the floor, the police report states. However, her husband said he only pushed her off him and she had thrown a picture frame at him after she had been drinking, according to the report.
Court records show that Ostrowski pleaded guilty in 2013 to third degree assault and battery in a special court York County maintains to hear domestic violence cases.
It remains unclear if Ostrowski will face any civil action in Family Court in the death of her baby, or any more criminal charges. Rock Hill police are still investigating to see if the burial violated any civil codes or criminal laws, said Capt. Brent Allmon, spokesman for the Rock Hill Police Department.
Harry Dest, 16th Circuit Chief Public defender, met with Ostrowski in the York County jail Thursday. Dest declined to comment on the meeting, but he said his office would investigate the police allegations that Ostrowski hid the pregnancy and secretly buried her son.
“We are just starting our look into this and will investigate the allegations,” he said, “and we will provide a vigorous defense in this case.”
The allegations against Ostrowski have shocked neighbors and others, including neighbor Betty Jenkins, who only recently retired from Piedmont Medical Center after 50 years as a nurse.
“I wish I would have known,” Jenkins said. “I would have helped her get medical attention.”
Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065