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Woman faces headless baby charge

A 25-year-old woman has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder after a prematurely born baby boy was found decapitated in her US trailer home.

Laura Lynn Hickey was arrested after a week-long investigation, said police in Washington state.

A pathologist concluded the 21-week baby was alive at birth but "suffered fatal injuries by decapitation", said officer John Panco. Police said the body was found under the kitchen sink in Hickey's home.

Hickey was scheduled to appear in Lewis County Superior Court. Officer Panco said he expected she would be formally charged with first-degree murder.

Paramedics responded to the woman's home just before 1am on March 2 after neighbours heard her call for help, said a joint police and prosecution statement.

Taken to Centralia Providence Hospital, the woman reportedly told doctors she was having a miscarriage but police said an exam showed she had given birth. Officers said the woman then told emergency room staff that the baby was under her kitchen sink, where the decapitated body was found.

The woman has three other children but they do not live with her, Officer Panco said, adding Child Protective Services removed them from her care about a year ago.

Asked about the week-long delay until the arrest, the officer said: "We had to have the pathologist determine whether the baby was alive at birth or not. That's a big part of what we can charge."

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