Local News

Durham teen accused of trying to kill 2-month-old son

Posted September 18, 2014

Marelin Portillo leaves the Durham County Detention Center Sept. 18, 2014, a day after she was charged with attempted murder against her 2-month-old son.

— A Durham teenager has been arrested after police say she tried to kill her 2-month-old son.

Marelin Portillo, 16, was arrested Wednesday on a count of attempted first-degree murder in the case after a Durham Police Department spokeswoman said she allegedly placed a towel over the baby's face while holding his nostrils shut.

Police are not releasing any additional details about the case.

Portillo was initially jailed under a $1 million secured bond, but a judge reduced that to a $500,000 unsecured bond.

She was out of jail on house arrest Thursday afternoon.


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  • USMC Vet Sep 26, 2014

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    - Agreed!!!
    Wayyy too many people, including those within the medical profession, down play PPD (post partum depression) putting small children at serious risk.
    Blessed this child survived.
    Where is the boy now? Hopefully not with HER. And where the boy's father?

  • Anne Walker Sep 19, 2014
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    Many people do not know about what some call "The Period of Purple Crying," when infants will sometimes frighten the devil out of parents and other caregivers by shrieking for hours on end. When parents, especially mothers, are led to believe that if they are good enough parents, they can serve every need of their child, a screeching infant can feel like criticism, making a new parent feel even more alone than usual. Some people get desperate to make the screaming stop.

    I do not know that this is what happened here, but a combination of "Purple Crying" plus post-partum depression could result in something as potentially deadly as this alleged situation. More information can be found at purplecrying (dot)info.

  • Anne Walker Sep 19, 2014
    user avatar

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    Thank you for being compassionate and articulate.

  • andreanicole686 Sep 19, 2014

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    Exactly. Many don't know that they have those options.

  • Steve Austin Sep 19, 2014
    user avatar

    she looks depressed

  • smdrn Sep 19, 2014

    We see so many teenagers sent to our state psych hospital for an eval after criminal behaviors like assault, battery, theft, running away, destruction of property, threats, etc, because they might have had ADHD or depression at one time or another when these kids should have been taken to jail. Here is a young girl, who is 2 months postpartum, that should have been sent here for eval of possible postpartum depression. I don't know her circumstances, but she should have been evaluated for this first. If it was ruled out, then throw her back in jail.

    I'm not condoning what she has done nor am I giving her a pass. Having seen real criminals committed for psychiatric care instead of being held accountable, and they knew full well what they were doing, has me furious that this girl, who really is a risk for mental illness due to the hormonal changes, wasn't given the evaluation that really was needed.

  • Brian Jenkins Sep 19, 2014

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    A druglord is a predater? LOL Does he force people do take these drugs? Does he hold towel over them and say "take these or Ill kill you? I guess doctors are druglords along with pharmacist. You know pharmacist get people hooked on hydrocodone, right? Poor people. Whats your IQ?

  • jdraleigh Sep 18, 2014

    Women -- especially very young women -- who kill their babies seem to be the most lost, depressed, desperate, abandoned people themselves. It amazes me that the law is unable to distinguish between these people and real predators, like druglords, gang leaders, and professional hitmen. Can we really be so stupid as a society in the 21st century? That mother is a child herself.

    And do we really think that harsh punishment is necessary in order to deter other mothers from killing their children? If a young woman is that depressed or overwhelmed, does anyone think that criminal penalties are part of her calculation in that moment when she does that awful thing?

  • sunshine1040 Sep 18, 2014

    Why did she not take action 9 or 10 months ago and where are her parents and the father they were not helping her

  • dh1964 Sep 18, 2014

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    That's quite possible. But that doesn't matter to the ones on this board who've already tried and convicted her.