Local News

Autopsy: Slain Fayetteville girl was smothered

Posted March 7, 2013 4:29 p.m. EST

— A 4-year-old Fayetteville girl who was found dead last year after a short visit with her mother died from asphyxiation due to smothering, according to an autopsy report released Thursday.

Bella Marie Morris also had potentially toxic levels of alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug, in her system when she died, the autopsy states. 

The girl's mother, Jaime Morris, 36, has been charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse in her death.

Investigators say the child lived with her grandparents, who had custody since 2009, but had been visiting her mother for less than three hours on Nov. 5, 2012. When the girl's grandfather arrived to pick her up, he found her unresponsive on the floor and called 911.

Bella Morris was pronounced dead at a local hospital.