Local News

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

Posted November 12, 2012 8:41 p.m. EST
Updated November 13, 2012 4:27 p.m. EST

— 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.