Did Ashley Marie Reed accidentally kill her baby or had she planned it? Why had the couple failed to avert a tragedy? Why was she so ill prepared in the first place and why did she decline turning to her family?
Ashley Marie Reed, a 16 year old Louisburg, North Carolina teen has been arrested after burying her newborn daughter’s body in her family’s backyard after keeping the pregnancy a secret from her parents.
Upon handing herself in to sheriff’s deputies in Franklin County on Tuesday, Reed was charged with concealing and failure to report a death.
The charges are the lowest class of felony, which means the teen, who has no prior criminal record, could serve between three and eight months of community service if she is convicted.
Reed’s 18-year-old boyfriend, Aaron Davis, had urged her to tell someone about the pregnancy but she was too scared and hid her bump beneath large shirts, he claimed.
She was full term when she gave birth to the 8.5lb baby in June. When she tried to cut her umbilical cord, she cut it too close to the baby’s body, likely causing her to bleed to death told authorities.
From there the teen wrapped the baby, whom she had named Emma, in a grocery bag and buried the body in her family’s backyard, police told.
Sheriff Jones believes killing the baby could have been an accident.
Nevertheless he told: ‘But she had ample time to do some type of planning to prevent this – plan a way to give the child up to keep this from happening,‘
It was previously reported that the sheriff’s department first suspected the child’s death when someone who had overheard a conversation about the dead baby went to authorities, he said.
The person ‘overheard something like, so-and-so is having a baby, and she’s not going to tell anyone about it,‘ Jones said.
Investigators found the family involved and went to their house. The girl was not home and her relatives were shocked by the possibility that someone there had given birth, Jones said.
As investigators looked about the house, they came across what appeared to be a bloody towel or shirt in the teenager’s bedroom, he said.
‘We had some suspicions, but we didn’t have anything else,’ Jones said.
Investigators left but the girl’s father called back several hours after they’d left and said: ‘You need to come back to our house. We found what you’re looking for.’
Her father led investigators to a shallow grave in the backyard where he had uncovered enough to see the baby’s head, Jones said.
At first, Jones was skeptical that the parents wouldn’t know their daughter was pregnant, he said.
‘I didn’t really agree with that when I first heard it,‘ he said. ‘But the social services people said teens are very, very clever in hiding this type of stuff. There may be ways of concealment that I don’t know about.’
Reed’s boyfriend, 18-year-old Aaron Davis, told WRAL that she had kept her pregnancy hidden under large shirts and jackets.
He said he had urged her to tell someone about the baby, but she was too scared to tell her parents.
Nevertheless Davis didn’t tell anyone about the imminent birth either, and his mother would tell that she only learned about her granddaughter after the baby had been born.
He said Reed had texted him the morning that her water broke and they had planned to meet at a church but she didn’t make it. She texted him with the bad news.
‘That was when she told me that the baby didn’t make it,‘ he said.
The first time Davis would come to see his daughter would also be the last time as he attended the baby’s funeral, nearly three-weeks after she was born, ABC11 would report.
Sheriff Jones said the investigation was still underway, but would not say if there would be any more arrests in the case.
Reed, who is out of jail after posting $50,000 bond, is scheduled to make her first court appearance on July 29.