NEW YORK (AP) - A teenage girl found carrying a dead foetus in a shopping bag at a Manhattan lingerie store is headed toward trial on shoplifting charges as authorities continue investigating the circumstances of the foetus' death.
A judge on Tuesday scheduled hearings and a trial on Jan 23 on the misdemeanour theft and stolen property possession charges, the only ones that have been lodged against the 17-year-old. A friend who is facing shoplifting charges in the same incident pleaded guilty to a lesser offence.
Medical examiners are still determining whether the foetus was alive when delivered and what caused the death. Depending on the results, more charges could ensue.
The case began when a security guard at a midtown Manhattan Victoria's Secret store stopped the two girls to examine their bags on Oct 17. The foetus was inside one of the bags, police said.
The girl who was carrying that bag maintains her innocence in the shoplifting case. She was accused of trying to leave the shop without paying for a US$45 (S$56) pair of pants, according to a criminal court complaint.
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Erika Edwards on Tuesday turned down a defence request to dismiss the charges.
The girl's lawyers would not discuss this week how the foetus came to be in the bag, but one of the attorneys, Mr Earl Ward, said they do not believe there is any basis for further charges against her.
The girl, who has a 2-year-old son, has not gone back to her high school since the arrest, but is continuing her education through other means, said another of her lawyers, Ms Genay Ann Leitman.
The girl's friend, also 17, was charged with taking about $200 worth of shirts and other items. She pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was ordered to do two days of community service. Disorderly conduct is a violation, akin to a traffic ticket, not a crime.
The friend and her lawyer declined to comment.