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Newborn girl found in shallow grave near Louisburg home

By Andrew Kenney
akenney@newsobserver.com

LOUISBURG Franklin County sheriff’s deputies discovered a newborn girl buried in a shallow grave on Sunday night, according to Sheriff Jerry Jones.

A person who had heard “third-hand” about the baby’s birth alerted Louisburg police about 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jones said. The person told police he had heard that an acquaintance had received a text message about a concealed birth, according to Jones.

“He said, ‘If I don’t tell somebody, I can’t live with myself,’” Jones said.

The police contacted sheriff’s deputies, who followed the tip to a home in a subdivision, where they’d been told they might find a teenager who had given birth recently.

Deputies didn’t find the 16-year-old girl, and her father told them it seemed to be a “sick prank,” Jones said. The deputies left the house and asked a series of other people about the case over the next several hours.

At 10 p.m., the teen’s father called deputies.

“He said he put a lot of thought into what we said and he had found what we were looking for,” Jones said Monday evening.

The man had found one of his yard tools and a freshly tilled patch in the yard beside his house, Jones said. When deputies uncovered the spot, they found an 8.5-pound infant girl in a bag, Jones said.

Deputies sent the body to the state medical examiner’s office, which reported Monday that it showed no signs of trauma and had apparently been born healthy on Sunday, Jones said.

“It’s looking more and more that it was a live birth,” he said. “We were hoping that that wasn’t the case.”

The teenage girl’s father told authorities that she had spent an unusually long time in the bathroom on Sunday morning, but that he otherwise had noticed nothing suspicious, according to Jones. Authorities have not released the name of the father or daughter.

The person believed to be the father of the infant is a juvenile teenager, Jones said.

No charges have been filed, but the sheriff’s office has launched a “full-fledged investigation” and is talking with the district attorney, Jones said.

Kenney: 919-829-4870; Twitter: @KenneyNC
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