Local News

Infant remains found under Smithfield home

Posted April 18, 2016 5:35 p.m. EDT
Updated April 19, 2016 12:46 p.m. EDT

— The remains of at least one infant were found in the crawl space of a Smithfield home over the weekend, according to a search warrant released Monday.

James Morgan, who lives in the rented home with his mother, Pamela McBride, was running a cable under the house, at 102 Hartley Drive, when he found two trash bags in the crawl space Saturday afternoon. When he checked to see what was inside one, he saw what he thought were human remains, so he and his mother called authorities.

Smithfield police and a Johnston County medical examiner later confirmed the remains of an infant were in one of the trash bags. Towels were wrapped around the remains, which were placed inside three trash bags, according to the application for a warrant to search the house and surrounding property.

"You would hear it in the news from other places and then, compared to it being so close, it's very shocking," said neighbor Tozziana Salazar.

McBride told police that her daughter, who used to live in the home, has battled drug addiction and tried to hide several pregnancies. McBride said her daughter often would deny being pregnant in the first place and then wouldn't explain what had happened to the baby after she had delivered, according to the warrant application. McBride specifically referenced a 2005 incident when her pregnant daughter locked herself in the bathroom for several hours. Family members later discovered a "trail of blood" and believed the baby had been delivered, even though an infant was nowhere to be found.

McBride has custody of two of her grandchildren, a 7-year-old girl and an 8-month-old boy. Another child was given up for adoption at birth, according to the warrant application. McBride estimated her daughter had been pregnant about 10 times.

During the search of the home, police seized the two trash bags and the remains that were found under the house, a bottle of prenatal vitamins, several Department of Social Services letters addressed to the daughter and plastic grocery bags from a freezer that contained a phone and other unspecified items.

The remains have been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Raleigh.