Officials say woman loses baby after boyfriend assaults her

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January 2, 2007

THOMSON, Ga.---A Thomson man is in jail after authorities say he beat his pregnant girlfriend, killing the baby boy she was carrying.

The victim was released from the hospital earlier today, and she talked to News 12 about her ordeal. She asked that her face not be shown.

Marone Elam was just over four months pregnant with her fourth child, and had just found out she was having a baby boy. But instead of picking out his baby clothes, she is now planning his funeral.

"It shouldn't have happened like that," she said.

According to officers, it all started with a fight between Marone and the baby's father, Stephen West, at a mobile home early new year's eve.

"I was scared after he hit me the first time, because I felt my baby like it was balling up," Marone said.

She says she pleaded with West to stop, but he didn't.

"He had punched me again, and that's when he mashed my stomach down with his fist."

Scared, Marone ran up the street for help.

"I was sitting there and felt my stomach cramping and felt like I was bleeding," she said. "I knew I was going to lose my baby the way I was feeling."

Marone was rushed from Thomson Regional Medical Center to University Hospital in Augusta, where she gave birth to a baby boy.

Stekanye Montaveous Elam was born just before 4 a.m. He weighed just over half a pound.

"He had a heartbeat while he was still in my stomach, but when they took him out he was already gone," Marone said. "When I hold him, I was crying, because he was so small, and I knew I couldn't take him home with me."

If she could talk to her son, she says she knows exactly what she would say: "That I love him and I never did anything to hurt it. And I wish I could have stopped it before it started."

Marone and West also have a daughter together.

She says she always wanted four children, but after what happened to Stekanye she doesn't think she will have any more.

Stephen West is in the McDuffie County Jail tonight. He turned himself in for questioning earlier today.

The GBI is holding him there overnight. They say they plan to charge him with the baby's murder first thing in the morning.

If convicted of feticide, he could face life in prison.