A very thin and frail Olivia L. Soares, 21, of La Grande, accompanied by her father, appeared before Wallowa County Circuit Court Judge Phillip Mendiguren, March 24, for a video arraignment on charges stemming from the abandonment of the body of a stillborn, near term infant on a side road at Minam State Park, March 7. Fishermen exiting the park discovered the body on March 8. The state medical examiner said that the infant was stillborn at approximately seven weeks from full term.
Soares was arraigned on felony charges of intentional Abuse of a Corpse in the second degree (a Class C felony) and willingly Concealing the Birth of an Infant (a Class A misdemeanor).
Soares, who had been presented with a written document explaining the charges, declined to hear the charges read out, but District Attorney Mona K. Williams requested they be read into the record "for the sake of the court" and because "Miss Soares appears to be quite timid."
The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a $125,000 fine. The lesser charge carries a possible sentence of one year in county jail and a fine of $6,250.
Soares made a request for a court appointed attorney. The court set April 14 as the date to hear her plea.