Chesterfield County, SC – The young mother who told police that her baby was snatched from her arms as she checked her mail on Tuesday was arrested only hours after police issued an Amber Alert for the baby girl.
The body of 11-month-old Harlee Lewis was found, hidden inside a plastic bag stuffed inside a diaper box, in a field only 1,000 yards from where her mother told police she had been kidnapped at about 2 p.m. on May 29, USA Today reported.
The baby’s mother, 19-year-old Breanna Lewis, was charged Wednesday with improper disposal of human remains, WSOC reported.
Additional charges were expected when the autopsy of the baby was completed.
An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday to determine what happened to baby Harlee, WSOC reported.
Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks told WSOC that the baby’s mother was the primary suspect in the case, and that he thought Breanna Lewis had fabricated the entire abduction story.
"It may be wrongful disposal of body, maybe not reporting child death, maybe murder, not sure," Sheriff Brooks said.
"She was home alone with that child since early this morning. Nobody heard anything. Nobody saw anything," the sheriff told WSOC.
Authorities said Breanna Lewis has admitted that she made up the story she told police about the kidnapping, USA Today reported.
Sheriff Brooks also said that the injuries to the mother's head that she blamed on her baby’s abductor were actually from a recent car accident.
Lewis had told deputies that a tan and gold colored SUV stopped in the middle of the road next to her as she stood at her mailbox on Jackson Road East in northeast Chesterfield, and a tall white man she’d never seen before got out of the SUV and punched her multiple times in the head.
She told police the man snatched her 11-month-old daughter Harlee from her arms and fled in his vehicle, WSOC reported.
An Amber Alert was issued for Baby Harlee, but it was cancelled almost as quickly.
“We canceled the Amber Alert because we don't think there was a kidnapping,” he said in explanation shortly after the baby's body was found.
The sheriff initially said they believed an extended relative of the child from Laurinburg might be involved in this incident, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) was investigating, WPDE reported.