Father also charged in baby’s death

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 24, 2001

AP and staff reports

WATERPROOF, La. – The father of a baby that died shortly after its birth is facing first-degree murder charges along with the baby’s mother, according to Tensas Parish Sheriff Rickey Jones.

Andrew Wade Miller, 26, and April Elise Hrenko, 22, both of Waterproof, were arrested by state police earlier this week in Shreveport, where the mother was hospitalized due to loss of blood from childbirth.

Both were charged with first-degree murder, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia, Jones told the Associated Press.

On Thursday Trooper Cam Douglas, public information officer for State Police Troop F, said Miller had only been arrested on the marijuana and drug paraphernalia charges, not first-degree murder.

Douglas said another arrest may be made in connection with the case, but he would not say Friday when that arrest could be made and would not elaborate on the ongoing investigation.

Jones, whose office is investigating the case along with the Louisiana State Police, would not go into specifics about where the baby was found or how he died but did say that &uot;we do know the child was alive at birth.&uot;

However, Douglas said Friday that a complete autopsy report might not be available for several weeks. Coroner John Hugh Roberson Jr. would not comment on the case.

Miller was being held in the Tensas Parish Jail. Hrenko was at the Richland Parish Detention Center in Rayville.

Officials believe Hrenko gave birth March 8 at the couple’s home southwest of Waterproof, but the couple didn’t report the birth.

Hrenko went to a Tensas medical facility March 13, was transferred to Louisiana State University Medical Center in Monroe and eventually to LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, according to state police detectives who assisted in the case.

Doctors determined that Hrenko was suffering from blood loss due to natural delivery of a child, but Hrenko claimed she had miscarried. &uot;She initially was in denial in Monroe,&uot; Jones said.

The sheriff’s office learned about the birth on March 15 from child protection services, Jones said. It was not known as of Friday whether the couple had any other children, Douglas said.

Authorities subsequently obtained a search warrant for the couple’s house and found marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to state police. Jones wouldn’t say how much marijuana was found.

State police Detective Chris McGarity arrested Miller on March 16. He was booked into Caddo Correctional Center in Shreveport as a fugitive.

Authorities interviewed Hrenko at the hospital the next day. Hrenko told detectives she had given birth and concealed the baby’s body in the house, state police said.

”She led us to the location of the baby and helped establish probable cause for the arrest,” Jones said.

Doctors’ reports estimate Hrenko was seven to eight months pregnant when she gave birth.

McGarity arrested Hrenko when she was released from the hospital Tuesday and booked her into Caddo Correctional Center as a fugitive.