Wake Forest Woman Charged In Death Of Adopted Daughter
Posted July 8, 2005 6:24 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake Forest mother has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her adopted Russian daughter.
Investigators believe Peggy Hilt, 33, beat her daughter, Nina, at their Wake Forest home last Friday and then drove with her family to a relative's house in Manassas, Va., where the child died Saturday morning.
Search warrants indicate that Hilt told Manassas authorities that the girl fell down the stairs. Published reports said she later admitted to repeatedly punching the girl.
Detectives searched Hilt's home, taking carpet, bedding and computers. They said it is a child abuse case with sexual abuse being considered.
Hilt's husband, Christopher Hilt, is being questioned, and the couple's older child is in protective custody.
Neighbors said they could not imagine how it could have happened.
"I was very shocked," said Hilt's neighbor, Susan Burnett.
Laurie Powell knew Peggy Hilt through a playgroup.
"I enjoyed her company and I enjoyed her children," Powell said. "I mean, you wonder how did this take place. How could this have taken place, and was her husband around? Was he out if it? There are a lot of questions."
Virginia authorities are handling the criminal case. Hilt, who has no criminal record, is in jail without bond. Wake Forest police said they have never been called to the Hilts' home.