Crime & Courts

Mother charged after infant found dead on Christmas Eve

A Dallas, N.C., woman was charged with neglect and child abuse after her infant son was found dead in a filthy home on Christmas Eve while she was apparently high on prescription drugs.

[UPDATE: Father’s 911 call in Christmas Eve death of infant son: ‘He’s beyond help’ ]

Stephanie Amber Tillman, 30, is charged with three counts of neglect and three counts of child abuse in connection with the baby’s death. Investigators plan to confer with the Lincoln County District Attorney’s Office to determine if Tillman will face other charges.

Authorities have not released the name of the 6-month-old boy who was found dead on the couch on Temple Lane, just southwest of Iron Station. The boy’s two siblings were also in the home when Sheriff’s deputies arrived but were apparently unharmed.

Around 11:45 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Jerry Allen, Tillman’s husband and the child’s father, called 911 saying “he came home from work to find his six month old son unresponsive, naked and alone on the living room sofa,” according to a news release from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

Allen told investigators he checked on the child but could not determine any injuries or what caused the child to die.

Allen searched the house and located his wife in a back bedroom with the couple’s two other children, who are 3- and 4-years-old. They were also naked, but were awake and apparently unharmed.

Investigators said the home was “filthy from human and animal waste and garbage,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.

An autopsy will be conducted at Baptist Medical Center on Monday to determine how the child died.

The two uninjured children were taken into custody by the Department of Social Services, who ultimately placed them with family members.

Tillman was treated at the scene and later at the hospital for injuries she received days earlier during an assault and “what appeared to be extreme intoxication from prescribed medication,” the Sheriff’s Office said.

Investigators haven’t released more details about the alleged assault. In a mugshot released by the Sheriff’s Office, Tillman has wounds on her face, a split lip and a bandage on her right arm.

She was being held in Lincoln County jail on Sunday night with bail set at $100,000. She’ll make her first appearance in Lincoln County District Court on Monday.

Cleve R. Wootson Jr.: 704-358-5046, @CleveWootson

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