Aimee Lee Weiss’ life was short, and filled with sadness.
At 17, she faced first-degree murder charges in the death of the son she claimed was stillborn but prosecutors in Broward County insisted she killed before dumping the body in a canal.
By 18, she was once again pregnant — with a daughter she lost to the State of Florida. That little girl is now 10, and living with James and Pamela Walpole, her adoptive parents, in Texas. Their son, Matthew, a teen-age friend of Weiss’, fathered the child.
On Oct. 24, Aimee Weiss died at the age of 29. The Broward Medical Examiner’s office confirmed it’s handling an open case on Weiss, born Aug. 12, 1983 in Miami, but declined to provide further details about how or where she died.
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Through an attorney, her father, Steven Weiss, said that Aimee had been in the hospital recently and died after being discharged.
Her mother Karen, divorced from Steven Weiss, remarried and living in Boca Raton, told the Walpoles on Thursday that her daughter died after “complaining about pain in her back and her heart started racing.’’
Paramedics “couldn’t stabilize her,’’ Walpole said, but he didn’t have further details.
Through Miami lawyer Robert I. Barrar Jr., Steve Weiss said his daughter had been “a normal kid who worked at Boston Market for spending money’’ before becoming pregnant the first time.
She gave birth in a bathroom at her Tamarac home in 2001. She was accused of cutting the umbilical cord with a pair of rusty scissors, strangling the child, wrapping his body in plastic, then putting him in a backpack that she tossed into a canal.
An 11-year-old found the backpack.
The case dragged on until 2006, when Weiss pleaded no contest to manslaughter charges and got three years’ probation.
At the time, the lead lawyer on the case, the late Ellis Rubin, said: “Aimee told the judge that in her heart and in her soul, she thought the baby was born dead and that’s why she disposed of it in the way she did.’’
Not long after the incident, Weiss became pregnant again, this time by Matthew Walpole, and delivered a girl two months prematurely.
The state of Florida terminated Weiss’ parental rights after the birth and awarded custody to the Walpoles. Aimee was permitted supervised visits with the baby in the neonatal unit, then for six months, she was permitted to nurse the baby for one hour a day at the Walpole home.
“The last time Aimee was with the baby was New Year’s Eve 2002,’’ said Jim Walpole, a compression engineer. “She was so happy, and the baby loved her. I promised [Aimee] I would do everything I possibly could to give [the baby] everything she couldn’t.’’
The Walpole family has been “agonizing over this,’’ he said. He said he believed Aimee told the truth about delivering her son stillborn because she had a condition that caused her daughter’s early birth: “Her uterus would not expand.’’
Weiss, said Walpole “was struggling.’’ At 17, she “was young and got in trouble and didn’t do anything, which was her biggest mistake. Her parents would have been supportive.’’
Although forbidden contact with her biological mother, the little girl has a relationship with Weiss’ family in Florida, Walpole said. No other members of Weiss’ family would talk to a reporter Thursday night or Friday.
Aimee’s daughter, Walpole said, longed to be with her mother.
“She would say, ‘I can’t wait till I’m 18 so I can be with Aimee,’’’ Walpole said.
When she heard during a counseling session on Thursday that her mother was dead, the 10-year-old “was sad but didn’t really know what to think,’’ Walpole said.
Weiss was once again in the news in 2007, when she was arrested along with her employer, Lauderdale Lakes chiropractor Frank J. Falowski and his wife, Christine Falowski, on insurance fraud charges.
She was still on probation for the newborn’s death. Barrar, her attorney, argued that Weiss, a receptionist, didn’t know what her employers were doing. She pleaded no contest, received a seven-day sentence and a $614.61 fine.
In the past few years, Weiss was in and out of court on misdemeanors, mostly traffic charges such as failure to pay a toll and driving on a suspended license. She was charged with prostitution/lewdness in 2010.
Jim Walpole had one word for Aimee Lee Weiss’s life: “Tragic.’’
But, he added, “she left the world a beautiful gift: Her daughter.’’
Barrar said the family declined to release funeral details.