When Amy Farris heard a baby screaming from a neighbor's house the night of Aug. 23, she thought it was odd.
As far as she knew, there weren't any children at that residence.
But after about 30 minutes of continuous wails, the sound suddenly ceased, she said.
"One minute there was crying, then nothing else," Farris testified Tuesday. "It just stopped."
The preliminary hearing to determine whether 19-year-old Carmela Camero will be tried for murder in the death of her newborn baby continued Tuesday.
Henderson police said Camero told detectives that after giving birth in a bathtub in her home, she left the baby wrapped in a towel on her bed and went to buy clothes, diapers, and other baby items.
That evening the baby started coughing, and Camero said she was worried about her mother finding out about the infant, she told detectives.
Afraid she would be kicked out of the house, Camero pressed the baby's face against her breast and held him there for 10 minutes, until he stopped breathing, Camero told detectives.
Farris, a next-door neighbor of Camero's, testified that she came home on Aug. 24 to find police cars lining her street and crime scene tape around Camero's home, where the teen lives with her mother and mother's boyfriend.
Although not knowing the details of the investigation, Farris said she walked over to voluntarily speak with police.
"They told me, 'Go away, nothing to see here,'" Farris said. "I just said, 'If it has anything to do with that baby crying, you better come talk to me.'"
Farris said she was immediately asked to give a statement. She told police about the baby cries she heard at Camero's house the previous evening.
This was before she was informed why police were at the house, she said.
Camero's mother, Angela Camero, also gave testimony Tuesday. She said she had never known that her daughter was pregnant, although she had suspected it once in July.
After confronting her daughter, Angela Camero said she found a bloody pad in the bathroom trash can, which she took to mean her daughter was still getting her period.
That was the last time she confronted her daughter about being pregnant, she testified.
County prosecutor Michael Staudaher asked Angela Camero if she could explain how her daughter, who stands just above 5 feet tall, had given birth to an 11-pound baby without her mother knowing.
"Was she gaining weight?" Staudaher asked.
"She was always big," Angela Camero said, adding that she didn't know her weight.
Angela Camero said she never saw or heard a baby on the day of the birth.
She said that even when her daughter left the house to go to the grocery store, apparently leaving the baby in her bedroom with the door open, she never heard a baby crying, which conflicted with neighbors' reports to police.
This isn't the first time Camero has been questioned by police about a dead newborn.
In 2006, Camero, then 16, was investigated after she dumped the body of her stillborn daughter in a trash bin at The Mirage.
Las Vegas police did not recommend criminal charges in 2006. Details from that investigation are not admissible in this case.
A decision on whether there is enough evidence for a trial will not be made until at least Nov. 24.
Camero's public defender, Andrea Luem, has said Camero's statements to police were inadmissible because of the Clark County coroner's ruling of "undetermined" in both cause and manner of the baby's death.
Staudaher contends the autopsy report ruled out accidental death or natural death, leaving only homicide and undetermined as potential categories.
If a suffocation occurred, there wouldn't be any physical signs expected in a newborn because a baby can't resist force the way an adult can, Staudaher said.
Henderson Justice Court Chief Judge Rodney Burr will hear arguments Nov. 24 and decide if Camero's statements to police will be stricken from the record.
Staudaher conceded that if Camero's statements are inadmissible, the case could be more difficult to prosecute.
Contact reporter Mike Blasky at email@example.com or 702-383-0283.