Local News

Fayetteville mother charged in death of 4-year-old girl

Posted November 12, 2012
Updated November 13, 2012

— Cumberland County authorities charged a Fayetteville mother Monday in the death of her 4-year-old daughter, who was found unresponsive by her grandfather earlier this month.

Jaime Leigh Gardner Morris, 36, of 4618 Elcone Drive, faces first-degree murder and felony child abuse charges in the death of Bella Marie Morris, according to sheriff's office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna.

Jaime Morris was being held Monday evening in the Cumberland County jail and was expected to make her first court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

According to a preliminary autopsy report, Bella Morris died from asphyxiation.

Investigators say the child lived with her grandparents and had been visiting her mother on Nov. 5 when she died.

Tanna said that when Bella Morris' grandfather arrived to pick her up, he found her unresponsive in the living room and called 911. She was taken to Cape Fear Valley Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Jaime Morris, Tanna said, tried to commit suicide when detectives launched an investigation. She was released from Cape Fear Valley Hospital Monday afternoon and taken into custody.

19 Comments

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  • Weetie Nov 13, 3:50 p.m.

    I guess she tried to commit suicide so she can get a "not guilty by reason of insanity" deal...So sad.

    Beautiful child. May God Bless her and her family

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Nov 13, 1:37 p.m.

    Why did this mother try and get some help for her child? All she had to do was call 911 or ask a neighbor too.

  • charmcclainlovesdogs2 Nov 13, 1:09 p.m.

    , Bella Morris died from asphyxiation.

    This mother could have sought some help. What is her problem? Now she faces murder charges of killing her own child.

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Nov 13, 12:13 p.m.

    Just because you don't love a child, that doesn't give you reason to harm them. Selfish, selfish woman.

  • SportsLover75 Nov 13, 11:47 a.m.

    Also, where was "mommy" at when grandpa came to get her and why would she try to kill herself if she didnt do anything??

  • SportsLover75 Nov 13, 11:47 a.m.

    They may not be able to report what evidence they have against her. It is an on-going investigation and it will be going to court I am sure. A lot of the times the reporter only gets what informtion the investagtors are willing to give.

  • lissa227812 Nov 13, 11:45 a.m.

    I believe it safe to say that if the mother attempted suicide right after the investigation was launched that says something right there.
    And the fact that she did not have custody of her daughter brings up a whole different round of questions as to maybe something happening in the past.

  • monami Nov 13, 11:41 a.m.

    "What evidence do they have to suggest the mother did it?

    The article does not say, but obviously there must be evidence if the mother is being charged.

    Sometimes I think I'd be a better reporter than those that work for WRAL. I always have more questions than answers after reading their articles.
    Click to view my profile ashcash21"

    Law enforcement releases limited information to the media. They hold back the majority as they conduct their investigation and prosecute the case. Their goal is not to educate the public with their evidence details; it's to prosecute someone who they believe committed a crime.

  • ashcash21 Nov 13, 11:17 a.m.

    I guess I should have worded my question this way:

    What evidence do they have to suggest the mother did it?

    The article does not say, but obviously there must be evidence if the mother is being charged.

    Sometimes I think I'd be a better reporter than those that work for WRAL. I always have more questions than answers after reading their articles.

  • SportsLover75 Nov 13, 10:54 a.m.

    I am guessing she wasn't the "motherly" type. She did not have custody of her child so at some point the courts thought she was not fit. Now she has proven it to the world. RIP Bella and my prayers are with those who truly loved and cared for this little girl.

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