North Carolina woman found guilty of hiding the bodies of her babies in trash bags under her house
According to her mother, Smith has been pregnant on at least 10 previous occasions and has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Now, nearly two years after her babies were found, she has been charged by the courts.
When police went to investigate a one-story brick home in Smithfield, North Carolina, in April 2016, they did not know what to expect. A search of the premises revealed trash bags that were later shown to contain the remains of two infants, with the authorities naming one 41-year-old Bridgette Morgan Smith as a person of interest in the developing case.
Smith is the daughter of Pamela McBride, who rented the home where the remains were found and was arrested in Jacksonville, Florida in June. She was then extradited to North Carolina on June 26 on felony charges of concealing the death of a child and taken before a Johnson County magistrate where a $30,000 bond was set.
The North Carolina law under which Smith was charged reads: "Any person who, with the intent to conceal the death of a person, fails to notify a law enforcement authority of the death or secretly buries or otherwise secretly disposes of a dead human body is guilty of a Class I felony."
She would spend the next five months in Johnston County Jail, appearing in court this past Thursday to plead guilty to two counts of failure to report a death. Each count carries a jail term of 39 months, and she was sentenced to 78 months in prison as part of a plea deal. The 164 days she has already served will be taken into account, and she will be eligible for release in 200 odd days, according to The News Observer.
Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle argued in court that DNA evidence confirmed that both infants were related to Smith, with autopsies showing that the fetal remains were about 36-42 weeks with no traumatic injuries. The state medical examiner's office was not able to determine whether or not the children were born alive, but evidence suggested that they were.
Smith told authorities that the children were born at the home where their remains were found. She also told them that during both births, she delivered the children over the toilet and that in both cases, the children did not show any signs of life; they were not crying or breathing. She thus proceeded to lift the remains of the infants outside the toilet, wrapped them in towels, and placed them in trash bags beneath the house.
The bodies would have been discovered were it not for a stroke of luck, McBride told police. She said that her son, James Morgan, found two trash bags containing 'squishy' material while running a cable through the crawl space of the house in 2016. Upon investigating the contents of the bag, he inferred that 'it contained remains of something once living,' according to the search warrant.
The authorities were notified and upon checking the bags, a human foot 'approximately the size of a newborn's foot,' was found among other remains. According to the search warrant, the remains of the two infants were wrapped in separate trash bags, with towels wrapped around the remains to draw away any suspicion.
Police also seized numerous evidence from the home, including a bottle of prenatal vitamins, five appointment letters for prenatal care at UNC Healthcare dated from early 2015, five departments of social services letters addressed to Smith, and a diary.
Smith is a troubled individual with a history of drug abuse and other disturbing behavior. McBride told police that her daughter had been pregnant on approximately 10 different occasions, but that she could account for only three children from those pregnancies. Two of those, an 8-year-old daughter and a toddler son, are in Mcbride's custody, with another one supposedly put up for adoption when her daughter had gotten pregnant as a teenager.
She revealed to the police that her daughter would often wear oversized hoodies, even during the heat of summer, to conceal her pregnancies and would disappear for weeks at a time when it was no longer possible to hide. She would later come back no longer pregnant and not speak about what had happened to the child, adding that one time, she had abandoned the child in the hospital itself.
McBride also told police that Smith had battled drug addiction her entire life, struggling with substance abuse of cocaine and methamphetamine. During an interview with police, Smith also admitted being a 'heavy drinker' and using pills and uppers - a category of psychostimulants which causes increased heart rate and anxiety.
While Smith's defense attorney argued that she did not tell police about the incident because she was too scared, prosecutor Doyle did not care for the argument. She told the court: "This defendant showed an utter disregard for the lives of her children. She chose to treat them like trash."
If you have any views or stories that you would like to share with us, drop us an email at email@example.com