Michele Kalina, 44, was charged with criminal homicide Monday after DNA tests showed that she was the mother of the four infants whose bodies were found in her Reading home over two months ago, Berks County District Attorney John Adams told reporters. At least three of the children, who were born alive, were fathered by Kalina's boyfriend. His name was not made public.
"Nobody knew she was pregnant," Adams said, according to the Reading Eagle. "I've been involved in the criminal justice system for 25 years, and this is the most bizarre thing I've heard."
Kalina, a nurse's aide, was arrested in August after the 19-year-old daughter she had with her husband alerted police to the dead babies. Adams said the daughter had ignored her mother's orders not to look in the closet and found the skeletal remains of some of the babies. One of the bodies was entombed in cement. In court papers, authorities said Kalina told them she "had been meaning to clean that closet."
Adams said the remains of a fifth newborn ended up in a dump and could not be directly linked to Kalina through forensic tests because it was badly decomposed. He said the babies were likely killed from asphyxiation, poisoning or neglect.
"I'm very confident we have all the babies," he told reporters. A sixth child, a daughter born to Kalina in 2003, was given up for adoption.
Kalina's husband, Jeffrey Kalina, told police he suspected his wife was pregnant at least once but said he knew nothing about the dead babies, The Associated Press reported. The boyfriend told investigators that Kalina explained away her growing abdomen by telling him she had cysts in her fallopian tubes. Adams said the boyfriend was entirely unaware of the births.
Another child, the 13-year-old son of Kalina and her husband, died in 2000 of cerebral palsy.
Kalina has been in custody since the newborns' remains were found and is being held without bail. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for Thursday.