Mother accused of murder will undergo psychiatric evaluation

LIVINGSTON—Tara J. Tomlin, 20, of Livingston was charged with second degree murder, a class A-1 felony, by State Police in coordination with the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office, November 28.

Ms. Tomlin allegedly placed her newborn baby boy in a plastic garbage bag in a dumpster behind the Bells Pond Xtra Mart, where routes 9/23, 9, 9H/23 and 82 converge, in the early morning hours of November 27.

She was at work as a clerk in the convenience store, when she gave birth to the full-term, living infant in the store restroom.

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Tara Tomlin, 20, of Livingston (c), appears in Livingston Court with her attorney Michael Howard (l), for her arraignment on a second degree murder charge, November 28. Photo by Lance Wheeler

Ms. Tomlin remained at the store for some time after the birth, until another clerk arrived to start his scheduled shift.

Ms. Tomlin then went home, where she lives with her father.

The male clerk made a call to State Police to notify them that he heard the sound of a baby in one of the garbage dumpsters behind the store at around 3 a.m.

State Police then went to the convenience store and searched the dumpster in question, but did not find the child.

It wasn’t until around 7 a.m. after receiving a second call, that troopers returned to the convenience store, searched again and finally found the baby in the originally indicated dumpster around 8:30 a.m., according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Why troopers did not initially find the child, who may have been alive when they first looked in the dumpster is unknown.

A call to State Police for further information has not yet been returned.

But after the baby was found during the second search, five hours later, Greenport Rescue Squad emergency medical technicians determined the child was dead.

An autopsy by Pathologist Jeffrey Hubbard, MD, at St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany concluded the cause of death was homicide, specifically, asphyxiation.

Troopers subsequently found Ms. Tomlin at her house and called an ambulance to take her to the hospital.

She remained there until the afternoon of November 28, when she was discharged, arrested by police and taken for arraignment in Livingston Court before Town Justice Robert Q. Moore.

Ms. Tomlin’s attorney, Michael Howard, requested that Justice Moore order a psychiatric exam for his client with District Attorney Paul Czajka’s consent. Some of Ms. Tomlin’s family was present in the courtroom.

Justice Moore ordered the exam, which will be performed by two experts independently.

She was then sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail.

DA Czajka told The Columbia Paper that if the two psychiatric experts agree that Ms. Tomlin is not competent to stand trial, she will be committed to a mental institution until she is. If both experts agree that she is competent, her trial will go forward, unless Mr. Howard disagrees and makes further motions. If the experts disagree about Ms. Tomlin’s psychiatric state, a court hearing will be conducted.

To contact Diane Valden email

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