SC mom charged with murder after giving birth, placing newborn in plastic bag

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Joanie Faith Holcombe

ANDERSON, S.C. — Deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office said a 23-year-old woman was charged with murder after a newborn baby was found dead Saturday morning.

The coroner confirmed that a baby was found dead on Cherokee Drive. The coroner later said the remains were a near-term female fetus.

A near-term fetus is classified as being in the womb anywhere from seven to nine months, according to the coroner.

A witness said her neighbor who found the fetus’s remains came to her door and asked to use her phone. She said he had a red bootie in his hand and a piece of broken mirror.

The witness said the man stated he needed to call 911 because he found a baby’s remains.

Deputies announced Sunday morning that they charged Joanie Faith Holcombe, 23, with the death of her child. Deputies said Holcombe confessed to the child’s death and impromptu burial.

Holcombe was charged with murder and unauthorized removal of a dead body after she told deputies she gave birth to the baby and placed the newborn in a plastic bag.

Sheriff John Skipper said the baby was born on Dec. 13 and died the same day. The baby girl’s body was in the woods for weeks before it was found.

“I don’t know this young mother’s exact situation but I do know that others who find themselves with an unwanted newborn have viable options. One option is guaranteed by the South Carolina Safe Haven Law,” Skipper said.

Deputies said that per the law, an individual can leave their baby, up to 30 days old, with an attendant at any hospital, emergency medical services provider, law enforcement agency, fire station or worship center.

Skipper said the woman had been trying to keep the pregnancy a secret from her loved ones.

A judge was unable to set a bond on the murder charge when Holcombe appeared in court Tuesday morning. The judge advised Holcombe to get an attorney and said she could request a preliminary hearing to learn more about the charges against her.

Source: WHNS