ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A baby abandoned in a stroller led to the discovery of a woman's body wedged in the window of a St. Petersburg home, and police said the homeowner made the gruesome discovery.
St. Petersburg police said say a homeless woman tried to break into a detached garage apartment overnight, but died in the process. Her 9-month-old baby boy was strapped into a stroller just a few feet away.
Lisa Hopkins has lived at the home on 15th Avenue South in St. Petersburg for 17 years. She said guests come and go, but this morning's was unexpected.
"I just found a baby inside my gate and I was looking for the parent," Hopkins said.
Just a few feet away from the stroller, Hopkins found the body of 23-year old Niesha Henderson hanging out of a small window of her garage apartment.
"What we believe happened was she put a chair and a milk crate by the window, stood up on those items and got her arms and head through the window and got wedged on the window sill and couldn't go in and could not go back out," St. Pete Police's Rick Shaw said Tuesday.
The Medical Examiner will determine the official cause of death, but police believe Henderson suffocated.
Friends said she grew up in the foster system. They think she was just looking for a safe place to stay with her 9-month-old son.
"It's tragic. This city, this county needs more resources for kids who age out of foster care. They also need more resources for homeless families. She was simply trying to find a place to sleep for the night with her child," Henderson's friend, Damia Kelly said Tuesday.
Long-time residents said it's a sad reality, evident on the streets of St. Petersburg.
"There's a lot of them walking around here. No place to go. No place to sleep. She was only trying to find a place to rest," neighbor Euolia Fegans said.
Henderson's little boy was taken to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital for evaluation. Police were in the process of determining whether he would be cared for by a family member, or DCF.
St. Petersburg police said there are a number of resources in Pinellas County for the homeless. FOX 13 News learned Henderson was in contact with a group that assists young adults who age out of the foster care system.