Baby's body found stuffed in a garbage bag, diaper box then tossed in the woods

Harlee Lane Lewis
Harlee Lane Lewis

The mother of an 11-month-old baby that was found dead in Chesterfield County Tuesday afternoon is now accused of stuffing her daughter’s body in a garbage bag, then in a diaper box and hiding the box in the woods.

Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Deputies charged 19-year-old Breanna Lewis with improper disposal of human remains Wednesday afternoon.

The investigation started as a kidnapping case, when Lewis called 911 at about 1:47 p.m. Tuesday. Sheriff Jay Brooks says Lewis told officers she was walking to her mailbox while holding her child Harlee Lewis. They say Lewis told investigators that a man driving a gold or tan SUV pulled up next to her, got out of the car and hit her multiple times in the head. She told officers he then snatched her baby and left.

She described the man as being tall, thin white and had a beard. She said he was wearing a coat, toboggan and one black glove. The description was listed on a statewide Amber Alert that was issued Tuesday for Harlee Lewis.

While deputies continued interviewing Lewis, Major Brianna Davis and another deputy began combing the woods surrounding Lewis’ house.

“I was already in the mindset of, that baby is here somewhere and it’s not going to be good,” Major Davis said.

Davis and the other deputy say they found tire tracks from a vehicle leading into the woods. She says the tire tracks stopped, and then they saw footprints. Tucked in briar, was a new-looking diaper box.

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“There was a plastic bag inside a box, that could be a person or a doll,” Major Davis said.

When she got closer, she could tell it was not a doll in the diaper box.

“Just a baby sleeping, pretty little girl. Even in that scene it was still a pretty baby,” Davis said. “I put a glove on and touched to feel a pulse or a heartbeat, but there wasn’t one.”

Investigators continued interviewing Harlee’s mother, Breanna. She later admitted that she made the kidnapping story up.

“She said the part about the kidnapping and the assault, she said it was playing like a movie in her mind,” Sheriff Brooks said.

Sheriff Brooks says Lewis told them she remembers taking her girlfriend to work that morning, but cannot remember much else after that.

“To the point where she says she blacked out and had no recollection of what may have happened to the child,” Sheriff Brooks said.

Investigators have interviewed Lewis’ girlfriend and they say she has been cooperative. They say Lewis’ girlfriend is not believed to be involved or had any knowledge of the crime. Lewis’ girlfriend told investigators the baby was fine when she was at the house that morning, Sheriff Brooks said.

Lewis has bruising on her right eye, which can be seen in her mugshot. Sheriff Brooks says she got that from a car accident she was in last week that happened in Anson County, NC. Brooks says she was disoriented about where her daughter was in that incident too.

“She claimed during the wreck that the child was in the car and the rescue squad panicked, searching all over the woods, called in the dogs, trying to flip the car back over to see if the baby was in there,” Sheriff Brooks said. “Then the babysitter calls and said ‘I don’t know what she is talking about, I have the baby with me’.”

Sheriff Brooks says they are not sure if Lewis has a diagnosis of some kind that they do not know about. They plan to have a physician evaluate her soon. He says she is in solitary confinement and being closely watched at the Chesterfield County Detention Center.

Meanwhile, the autopsy of Harlee Lewis has been completed, but the results have not been shared.

Right now, Breanna Lewis is charged with filing a false police report and improper disposal of human remains.

The Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate. The circumstances surrounding the case have been difficult to tolerate for deputies. Sheriff Brooks described it in comparison to cases where they remove children from homes.

“We have a policy here that the last thing we do is put their clothes in a garbage bag. We find an old suitcase or something, but can you just imagine how it makes a kid feel to put their clothes in a garbage bag, let alone a kid in the garbage bag,” Brooks said.