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4-year-old's death 'shocking,' Cumberland DA says

Posted November 13, 2012

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— Cumberland County's top prosecutor says that the recent death of a 4-year-old girl, allegedly at the hands of her mother, is "shocking and concerning."

"Even though I've been doing this a long time, any time you see where a natural mother has been charged with murdering a natural child, it's very shocking and concerning," District Attorney William West said Tuesday. "It's certainly a case this office takes very seriously."

Cumberland County authorities on Monday charged Jaime Leigh Gardner Morris, 36, of 4618 Elcone Drive, with first-degree murder and felony child abuse in the Nov. 5 death of Bella Marie Morris.

Investigators said the child lived with her grandparents and had been visiting her mother when she died.

A preliminary autopsy found Bella Morris died from asphyxiation.

Jaime Morris made a brief first appearance in court Tuesday, sometimes wiping her eyes, as the judge read the charges against her.

Her mother sat nearby, sobbing uncontrollably.

Jaime Morris, authorities said, attempted suicide after her daughter's death, but neither West nor investigators have commented further about the case.

A family friend also declined to comment.

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  • BEACH Nov 15, 1:19 p.m.

    lOTS OF PRAYERS FOR THESE GRANDPARENTS, I cannot even imagine what they are going through, to know that the court told them the little girl has to visit her Mom and nothing they could do.
    She is flying with the Angels now but so sorry for their lost. What a sorry excuse for a Mother. Way to go Judge, hope u can sleep at night knowing you gave visiting to this Mom. She had bad conduct before, but I guess that did not keep her from seeing her child. Feel for the other grandmother also, what she is going through knowing her daughter killed that little doll.

  • beach2011 Nov 15, 10:47 a.m.

    AMAZING - what a beautiful child. My prayers for her family that love her!! She is safe now!

  • shortcake53 Nov 14, 9:10 a.m.

    Just because a woman can pop out a baby, that doesnt make her "mother material". As a grandparent raising a grandchild that we have legal custody of, it is my worst nightmare to get a phone call during a visit, saying something horrible happened. But our hands are tied, since courts refuse to stop visits or restrict them to supervised only. My heart goes out to Bella's family. I am so terribly sorry for your loss.

  • esteryates69 Nov 13, 6:36 p.m.

    If only she been unable to see her 4 year old daughter,who was beautiful,just maybe she still be a live.It plan she was unfit to care for the child,since the grand parent had her.My prayer are with the grand parents.Yes this is very sad.

  • monami Nov 13, 6:10 p.m.

    This woman was just shown on TV at her court appearance today. Her fingernails looked like she had a very recent manicure. What kind of thinking goes through this woman's brain? What possible reason could there be for this cruelty???

    Disgusted. Sad. Speechless.

  • mike honcho Nov 13, 5:59 p.m.

    What a precious little girl, very sad.