Content warning: this post deals with pregnancy loss. If you or a loved one has experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a newborn, support is available via SANDS Australia. Call them anytime on 1300 072 637.
School cafeteria cook Teodora del Carmen Vásquez was nine months pregnant when she was struck by a piercing pain in her abdomen. The Salavadoran called for help, but blood began running heavily down her legs. Before emergency services could reach the 24-year-old, she lost consciousness.
When Teodora woke, she was surrounded by police. Her baby had died, they told her, and she was being accused of its murder.
As reported by The Guardian, Teodora was ultimately sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide in February 2008, after a Salvadoran court determined that the child had been born alive and asphyxiated.
Throughout the process, Teodora has vehemently maintained her innocence. And this week, after more than 10 years behind bars, she was finally freed.
The central American nation’s Supreme Court commuted her sentence on Thursday after an appeal successfully discredited the autopsy report on which her conviction had been clinched.