A Massachusetts woman has been indicted on murder charges after police found the remains of three babies in her home, the Worcester district attorney announced Tuesday.
The Boston Globe reports police arrested Erika Murray, 31, in September after searching her Blackstone home following the removal of four neglected children from the home in August. She has been in custody since that time.
Authorities had been notified of a problem after one of the children went to a neighbor trying to get help for a crying baby. When they responded, police found four children, ranging in age from 5 months to 13 years old, living in what they said were deplorable conditions.
Prosecutors said the 5-month-old and 3-year-old were covered in their own feces and the 3-year-old was unable to walk or talk. Police removed the children from Murray’s care.
They returned in September with a search warrant for the home. That is when they found the remains of two babies, dressed in diapers and infant outfits. The body of the third child is described by The Boston Globe as that of a fetus.
“I have never seen anything like the facts in this case,” Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early said at a news conference Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. “Everyone who went into that house, to a person, said they'd never seen anything like it.”
The house, which was eventually demolished, was said to be infested with rodents and insects, with feces smeared on the walls.
“Upstairs looked like a landfill with garbage and trash piles,” Assistant District Attorney John Bradley said in court Tuesday.
Murray stands charged with two counts of murder for the deaths of the two older babies. She is also charged with concealment of fetal remains in connection with the death of the youngest baby. She was also indicted on two counts of assault on a child with substantial injury, two counts of reckless endangerment of a child, and two counts of animal cruelty.
Prosecutors have also charged Murray’s boyfriend, 38-year-old Raymond Rivera with two counts of assault and battery on a child, and two counts of reckless endangerment of a child. Rivera is said to be the father of the children.
He has pleaded not guilty and said he had been living in the basement of the home and was not aware of the conditions in the rest of the house. The judge ordered Rivera be held on $100,000 bail.
Murray's attorney, Keith Halpern, said the murder charges against his client were an overreach by prosecutors.
“There's no evidence that she did anything to cause the death of any of these infants,” Halpern said. “There's no evidence of how they died.”
He said Murray has mental health problems and that she told police she found one of the babies dead after she put the child down for a nap.
Murray is due in court for arraignment Dec. 29. She has a pretrial conference scheduled for Jan. 14. She is being held on $1 million bail.