FARGO — Before police arrested Ginny Rose Lubitz for allegedly drowning her newborn son in a bathtub, detectives grilled her on the conscious moments she had before she said she lost all memory of events.
Fargo Police Detective Chris Mathson testified Friday, Jan. 10, in Lubitz's trial in Cass County District Court where she faces a murder charge. The detective linked Lubitz's Google searches around the time her child was born in a friend’s bathroom to conscious thought.
After three days of witness testimony, the prosecution rested its case Friday. The defense is not expected to call any witnesses or have Lubitz testify in her own defense. Closing statements are set to begin at 10:30 a.m. Monday.
Lubitz, 37, has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the events of May 5, 2018, after cutting the child’s umbilical cord with a pair of scissors and trying to call 911. Police detectives didn’t believe her story.
On Lubitz’s cellphone, police found web searches between February 2018 and May 5, 2018, regarding pregnancy, abortion, adoptions, birth calculators, due date calculators and Push Paradox, a pregnancy research site.
During an hours-long police interview, Lubitz initially denied that she made the searches, then reneged, saying she did them for a 16-year-old family member. A recording of the police interview was played for jurors Friday.
“I don’t believe you blacked out the second after you cut the cord,” Fargo Police Detective Nick Kjonaas said during the interview. “Here’s all this information, and when it is inconvenient you can’t remember, or you’d rather not say. I don’t think you are a cold-hearted person, but something happened in there, and you are the only one who can provide the answers. There are things you say you don’t remember, but there are also things that require conscious thought.”
“Those are things I cannot help you with. I have no memory,” Lubitz said in the interview. “I don’t remember if he cried or not. I can’t tell you even if I held him, that would have been one of the first maternal things somebody does. I’m not hiding anything.
“I never pushed once. I never tried to have the kid. I never tried to expel the kid out of my body.”
“There are intentional acts you are doing after the birth of the child, and for you to sit here saying you don’t remember is not registering with us,” Mathson said. “You’re taking steps to care for this child.”
More coverage of Ginny Lubitz's murder trial:
Day 1 of testimony: Friends testify in trial of mother charged with drowning newborn in Fargo
“I looked down, I saw the baby, I reached over to cut the cord, I cut it, I reached for the phone, and that’s all I remember,” Lubitz said. “The other thing, too: I used to work in an emergency animal shelter, a lot of things are on instinct .... Instinct kicked in, because I’ve done it with animals so much.”
“I don’t believe for a minute that you’ve forgotten everything that we’ve asked,” Kjonaas said. “You’re treating us like we don’t know. There are things you have searched that you say you didn’t search, and when we ask you about that, what’s your answer?”
On Feb. 6, 2018, Lubitz performed an online search on the Red River Women’s Clinic, North Dakota's only abortion facility. At noon on May 5, 2018, around the time her child was born, Lubitz researched umbilical cord cutting and Push Paradox.
“The fact that you say you can’t remember anything, is bull,” Kjonaas said. “I don’t buy it. I think there is more.”
“If I could tell you anything after I was fumbling with my phone, I would,” Lubitz said. “Maybe it got to the point where the pain was too much for me to bear. I don’t know.”
Thursday's testimony showed that Lubitz told Cass County's chief deputy coroner she had a miscarriage and two abortions. In the interview with detectives, she told them she had a miscarriage and three abortions before the birth on May 5, 2018. She told the detectives she had never felt labor pains before, and said the pain that day registered a five on a scale of zero to 10.
Later during the interview, Lubitz told the detectives she may have been the one who put the baby in the bathtub. She started taking a bath around noon on May 5, 2018, because of stomach pain, but did not think she was having contractions. She slept for a few hours before she gave birth, she said. Friends found her at about 8:30 p.m. that night, and emergency crews were called about an hour later.
“That’s probably how he got into the bathtub. I was trying to keep him warm,” Lubitz said. “I’m purely guessing, because I don’t know. I would have tried to hold him up above the water so he could breathe."
“No way in hell would I have done anything to harm that kid,” Lubitz said.
“The baby’s cold, although you don’t remember. But rationally, you knew you needed to keep the baby warm,” Kjonaas said.
The detectives asked Lubitz about drug use, and why blood work showed the presence of meth in her and her dead son.
“Yes, I tried it, and I don’t like it,” Lubitz said. “I have never been a fan of man-made drugs in my life.”
“There is really no explanation that you can think of why you and your baby would have such high levels of methamphetamine?” Mathson asked.
“Right. If it doesn’t come out of the ground, I don’t touch it,” Lubitz said. “How did that get into my system? I‘ve seen what that does to people in my life, and I don’t want anything to do with it.”
During cross-examination, Lubitz's attorney Kevin McCabe asked Mathson if he knew what happened behind that closed bathroom door on May 5, 2018. Mathson said he did not.
After the prosecution rested its case, the defense requested an acquittal, but District Judge John Irby denied it.
"The defendant did not intentionally cause the death of another human being," McCabe said. "Simply put, the state did not prove its case that Ms. Lubitz caused the death of her child by drowning."
Prosecutor Leah Viste countered, saying: "In this case, there has been sufficient evidence that Ms. Lubitz did kill her child. We ultimately know she was alone and that the child was born alive and that the cause of death was unnatural."