Melissa Drexler (born 1978) is an American who delivered a baby in a restroom stall during her high school prom. She put the newborn in the trash and then returned to the dance. Drexler pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter, and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. After serving nearly 37 months, she was released on parole.
Drexler attended Lacey Township High School in the Forked River section of Lacey Township, New Jersey. She kept her pregnancy secret from the baby's father, her parents and friends. Five feet seven inches tall, and about 60 kg (130 pounds) when not pregnant, she apparently showed no signs of her pregnancy. On June 6, 1997, Drexler gave birth in a toilet stall at her senior prom, twenty minutes after complaining of stomach cramps in the car she had arrived in. She retrieved the baby from the toilet bowl, placed it in a plastic bag, and deposited it in a trash can. It is thought that she severed the umbilical cord on the serrated edge of a sanitary napkin dispenser. According to the prosecutor, a friend asked if she was alright, and she replied "I'll be done pretty soon. Go tell the boys we'll be right out." She then returned to the dance floor, ate a salad, and danced with her boyfriend. When Drexler and her friends were asked by teachers about the blood in the bathroom, she replied that she was having a heavy menstrual flow. The baby was discovered by a janitor, after a school matron cleaned the bloody bathroom stall, emptied the trash can, and became suspicious of the weight of the trash bag. As part of a plea agreement, Drexler pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter on August 20, 1998. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On November 26, 2001, she was released on parole after serving a little over three years.
The Nickelback song "Throw Yourself Away", which appeared on their 2003 album The Long Road, is about Drexler. The case, along with that of Amy Grossberg and Brian Peterson, also inspired the Family Guy musical number Prom Night Dumpster Baby in the episode Airport '07.
In The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager, Thomas Hine uses Drexler's case as an example of "the grotesque consequences of the teenage mystique".
- Smothers, Ronald (August 21, 1998). "Guilty Plea By Mother, 20, In Prom Death". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- Lima, Paulo (24 November 2001). "Prom night baby-killer to be freed from prison". The Bergen County Record. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- Barron, James (June 10, 1997). "Decision Whether to Charge Prom Mother Awaits Tests". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
- "New Jersey Charges Woman, 18, With Killing Baby Born at Prom". New York Times. 25 June 1997. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
- Hine, Thomas (2000). The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager. HarperCollins. pp. 12–15. ISBN 9780380728534.
- Melissa Drexler, Murderpedia