[Original publication date: February 24, 2004]
Years later, Phifer talks of regrets, forgiveness
RALEIGH — The baby would be 7 now, in elementary school and learning to read.
By NANCY H. McLAUGHLIN, Staff Writer
News & Record
In an ideal world, her death never would have happened. In an ideal world, the teenage mom wouldn’t be longing for forgiveness.
An ideal world is the one Racquel Phifer wants to be a part of — not the concrete-and-glass world of the North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women, where she is serving 10 to 13 years for the second-degree murder of her only child.
“I wished my mother could have looked at me and known something was wrong,” the petite 27-year-old says of the concealed pregnancy in Greensboro in 1997 that led to her life spiraling out of control.
The high school dropout who had been raped as a child had already showed signs of undiagnosed mental illnesses before she gave birth that January to the infant the Greensboro community would come to know as Baby Jane Doe.
With her parents at work and her brother in school, Phifer laid out blankets on a cold day and delivered the baby on the floor of a room in her parent’s upper-middle-class home.
After bathing her, playing with her dark hair and counting tiny fingers and toes, Phifer wrapped the hours-old newborn in a clean white blanket and placed her in a dumpster in nearby Oka T. Hester Park. A man looking for cans the next day found her among the garbage.