Local News

Woman charged after baby found near trash pile

Posted April 3, 2009 11:10 a.m. EDT
Updated April 3, 2009 12:45 p.m. EDT

— The Union County Sheriff's Office charged a 22-year-old Monroe woman on Friday with murder in the death of her baby, who was found near a pile of burned trash in February.

Erica Denise Kelly, of 1902 Walkup Ave., also faces a charge of concealing the birth of a child. She was placed in the Union county Jail without bond. Her arrest came a little more than a month after a family member returning to their mobile home discovered the baby girl Feb. 26.

"This death absolutely did not have to occur, given the 'safe surrender' statutes on the books," Sheriff Eddie Cathey said in a statement. "Anytime a child is a victim of a heinous crime like this, it makes you that much more determined to solve the crime."

The Union County medical examiner has said the baby was born alive after a full-term pregnancy. Investigators believe that Kelly abandoned the baby before its death.

Investigators linked Kelly to the baby through DNA evidence. The sheriff said they did extensive DNA testing, interviewed numerous witnesses and held information checkpoints.

"We had to wait on the science, which can be frustrating at times," Cathey said. "Unlike 'CSI' and the other forensic-science fantasy shows, DNA casework takes time, given the number of subjects that we had to process."

Cathey would not comment on further details of the case or if further arrests were expected.

Kelly's first court appearance was set for May 6.