Michelle Wilkins’ baby did not survive the brutal foetal abduction – but the brave 27-year-old did.
Her daughter ’s tiny body was cold and limp as Michelle Wilkins dressed it tenderly, singing quietly to little ears that would never hear.
The scene sounds like the worst nightmare of any expectant mum – a stillbirth or a baby lost soon after labour.
But this was something else entirely. An experience so brutal , so unthinkable, it is beyond any mum-to-be’s darkest fears.
Last March, Michelle was the victim of foetal abduction.
At seven months pregnant , she was viciously attacked and her unborn baby ripped from her unconscious body with two kitchen knives.
The perpetrator – dubbed a “womb raider” in this rare but horrifying crime – was a woman so obsessed with the idea of having a baby of her own, she had faked a pregnancy and decided stealing an unborn child was the only way to prove her lie.
Dynel Lane lured Michelle, a stranger, to her home, by advertising second-hand maternity clothes online.
Once there, she strangled Michelle and “cut her from hip to hip” before tearing out the foetus.
But although her baby could not withstand such brutal violence, Michelle did – and now the 27-year-old is bravely giving her first newspaper interview.
Sixteen months after the gruesome attack last March, she says she is still struggling to comprehend it.
“There’s no answer to the question, why does somebody do this?” she says, quietly.
“This woman was sick. My grief has been excruciating.
“It shouldn’t be anyone’s first moments with their daughter – holding, dressing and singing to a cold body.”
She adds: “When I came round, my whole abdomen was searing with pain.
“I looked down and saw the cut across my stomach – I felt my intestines fall out of my body as I tried to get up.”
Foetal abduction may be rare, but Michelle, from Boulder in Colorado, is one of 16 cases in the US since 2003.
Lane, 35, who has two teenage daughters, had tragically lost a son over a decade before.
The nursing assistant had been pretending she was pregnant with a son to her boyfriend for months.