Phiengchai Synhavong claimed she was crazy when she tied up 27-year-old Araceli Camacho Gomez then cut out her fetus with a box cutter. Most people wouldn't argue. But from a legal standpoint, jurors in the bizarre case weren't buying it as an excuse. And after being convicted of murder last month, Benton County Superior Court Judge Robert Swishes on Wednesday sent the 25-year-old Laotian woman away to die to prison.
Regardless, here the details are:
Synhavong had taken to telling people that she was pregnant, which she wasn't. Gomez, however, was nine months pregnant and seemed the perfect target for the baby snatcher.
Synhavong somehow lured Gomez into her SUV, telling her that she was going to give her some baby clothes. A large-and-in-charge woman, Synhavong overpowered Gomez when she was in the vehicle, then tied her up with yarn.
Then, out came the box cutter.
After the unthinkable deed, Synhavong dumped Gomez's now lifeless body in a city park and took the child (a little boy named Salvador who somehow survived the ordeal) as her own.
She called police and told them she'd just delivered a baby and that it might be dead. But that story didn't add up when simple tests showed there was no way she just gave birth or had even been pregnant at all.
The cops also found bloody mechanic's gloves in her purse.
When they found Gomez's body and charged Synhavong with murder, she started acting all kinds of crazy--saying the police kidnapped her and toting around a blanket that she called her baby. Later though, when the cops and shrinks watched her in secret, she acted normal, playing cards with the folks at the hospital and joking around.
This pretty well blew a hole in her "not guilty by reasons of insanity" defense.
Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller had decided against seeking the death penalty after the woman's family expressed interest in putting the incident behind them.
Little Salvador, meanwhile, is said to have suffered brain damage, though most would call it a miracle that he survived at all.