Police have launched an investigation after numerous bags filled with the remains of a child were reportedly discovered underneath a North Carolina home.
On April 16, Smithfield, North Carolina, police officers responded to a call regarding remains of an infant child found near 102 Hartley Drive, WTVD reports. The remains were found discarded in three trash bags and were wrapped in towels.
"You would hear it in the news from other places and then, compared to it being so close, it's very shocking," neighbor Tozziana Salazar told WRAL.
Pamela McBride, the woman who leases the residence, spoke to investigators about the discovery. She asked her son, James Morgan, to place a cable under the building on April 16, which is when he noticed the "squishy" trash bags, WTVD notes. When Morgan opened the trash bags, he realized that the remnants of "something once living" were inside.
According to a search warrant, which was released to the public on April 18, McBride suspects her daughter, Bridgette Morgan Smith, may be connected to the infant remains. McBride noted that Smith has battled a drug addiction and has lived in the home at various times. Smith has allegedly been pregnant approximately 10 times, but the whereabouts of only three children are known, specifically an 8-month-old boy, a 7-year-old girl, and a child that was given up for adoption when Smith was a teenager. McBride has custody of Smith’s two children.
"She's just a good woman," neighbor Wilma Elliott said of McBride. "She's good to them two grandchildren."
Elliott added that Smith frequently would "just come in and go out. That's what she did."
Smith is believed to have secretly given birth on various occasions. McBride said her daughter would leave the home once her pregnancy began to show and return after she "obviously had delivered the baby" but would not reveal where the infant was located.
On one occasion in 2005, McBride’s mother, Rose Branch, said Smith appeared to have delivered a child in the bathroom, as she had locked herself in there with the bath water running for several hours. Later, a trail of blood allegedly led from the bathroom to Smith’s room. In another instance, about 12 to 15 years ago, Smith allegedly gave birth while traveling and left the child at the hospital.
Police have yet to confirm McBride's allegations.
Several items were retrieved during the search of the residence, including prenatal vitamins, letters addressed to Smith from the Department of Social Services, and grocery bags from a freezer that contained a phone and various items, according to WRAL.
The bags of remains have been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office.