Family, authorities seek answers in case of Smithfield infant remains
Posted June 26
Updated June 27
Smithfield, N.C. — A woman arrested in Florida last week in connection with the 2016 discovery of infant remains under a Smithfield home said little Tuesday in a Johnston County courtroom, as authorities and relatives search for answers in the case.
Bridgette Morgan Smith, 41, was returned to Smithfield on Monday after being arrested in Jacksonville, Fla., on two counts of concealing or failing to report a death.
Trash bags containing the remains of two infants were found in the crawl space of a home at 102 Hartley Drive in April 2016. The remains were wrapped in towels in the bags.
"It was a horrible, horrible ordeal," Haley Fugate said Tuesday. "I'll never forget the sight. I'll never forget it."
Fugate's fiancé was installing a cable under the house when he found the remains.
"It's just crazy. I don't even know what goes through a person's mind when they do that stuff," she said.
Relatives said Smith called last week after her arrest, and it was the first time they had heard from her since the remains were discovered. She sounded scared and was crying, they said.
Smith’s mother, Pamela McBride, told police that Smith tried to hide several pregnancies in the past, according to a 2016 application for a warrant to search the home where the remains were found.
McBride estimated that Smith had been pregnant about 10 times, the application states, but she knew what happened to only three of the children – two are in McBride’s custody, and a third was given up for adoption.
"It's scary," Fugate said. "What did she do? Where are the other babies? Where are they?"
The case caught the attention of other law enforcement agencies with unsolved cases of infant remains. Cumberland County authorities, for example, checked the DNA of two open cases, Baby Michael and Baby Christopher, against those of the Smithfield remains to see if they were related, but they didn't get a match.
Smith remains in the Johnston County jail under a $30,000 bond.