Family: Mom Charged With Murder 'Not in the Right State of Mind'
Posted October 21, 2007 6:09 p.m. EDT
Updated October 22, 2007 6:53 a.m. EDT
Spring Lake — Family members of the Harnett County mother charged with murder in her baby’s death said they continue to support her, but they don’t understand what happened.
“My daughter obviously was not in the right state of mind,” said Hannibal Irrizary, father of Michelle Heuser, 25. “This is not in her character, you know, the stuff that has gone on.”
Heuser was charged with first-degree murder Saturday after investigators found her 11-month-old daughter, Harmony Jade Creech, dead in the family’s attic.
Heuser was expected to make her initial appearance Monday morning in Harnett County court.
Authorities issued a statewide Amber Alert on Friday after Harmony was reported missing. But police said Heuser told investigators Saturday that she found Harmony dead in her crib several weeks ago.
She concealed the baby’s death out of fear, authorities said.
“We thought [Harmony] was kidnapped,” Irrizary said. “I’ve been putting out fliers and trying to do everything in our power to find the captors, and we find out that she wasn’t kidnapped at all.”
The baby's body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Heuser falsely reported Harmony missing Friday morning, police said. That same morning, the baby’s father, Ronald Creech II, returned home from Iraq. It was his third deployment, according to his father, Ronald Creech I.
“If it had not been for them keeping my son for three tours of duty, my son would have been home, possibly keeping this from happening,” the elder Ronald Creech said.
Although he’s angry, he said he would support Heuser. The one thing that comforts him is knowing his son got to meet Harmony once, briefly, before she died.
“He got to hold her. That’s something I’ll never get to do,” Ronald Creech I said.
Heuser was being held in the Harnett County Detention Center without bond. She is expected in court Monday morning. Harmony’s body was taken to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Chapel Hill to determine how she died.
“[Harmony] smiled and the whole room lit up,” Irrizary said. “You know, she was just a bundle of joy.”