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WASHINGTON - D.C. police have charged a 26-year-old woman studying to becoming a Catholic nun in the death of her newborn son.

Police say Sosefina Amoa gave birth to the boy Oct. 10 in her room at the Little Sisters of the Poor elderly care facility. Afraid the nuns would hear the newborn's cries and discover she lied about sexual activity, police say Amoa told investigators she smothered him. A day later she and a nun took his body to a hospital.

Amoa was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder after the death was ruled a homicide by asphyxiation.

Amoa arrived from Samoa on Oct. 5 and was considered a postulant, someone who wants to be admitted to the order. The order says in a statement that they're praying for everyone involved.