Reports: Woman charged in death and kidnapping of missing mom was close friend


The body of a woman found in a Houston-area home has been identified as missing Austin, Texas, mother Heidi Broussard, officials said Friday.

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences said she had been strangled in the trunk of a vehicle.

Investigators also found a baby girl believed to be Broussard’s daughter Margot Carey, who was reported missing along with her mother on December 12, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley told reporters. The baby is alive and healthy.

Police are waiting for DNA testing to confirm the infant is Margot, Manley said.

One person has been arrested and faces two charges of kidnapping and one charge of tampering with a corpse, Manley said. Police wouldn’t name the person in custody, but said bond was set at $600,000.

Magen Rose Fieramusca was identified as a suspect, according to a source familiar with the investigation. On Saturday, she was being held in the Travis County jail, according to the Travis County Sheriff’s office website. She was arrested in Harris County. The court clerk’s website there showed she was being held on those charges with a $600,000 bond.

Her attorney, Jackie Wood, was appointed late Friday and confirmed Fieramusca was transferred to Austin. Wood says she will visit Fieramusca in jail Saturday but it’s unlikely the case will be scheduled during the holidays since most courts are closed.

More charges may be filed as the investigation progresses, Manley said.

“Although we are grateful that it appears as though we have safely recovered baby Margot,” Manley said, “again, we do believe that Ms. Broussard lost her life in this incident.”

According to PEOPLE, the suspect was present when Broussard gave birth.

“She was supposedly Heidi’s friend for a long time,” a family member of Broussard’s said in an interview to PEOPLE. “We’ve been knowing her for a long time.”

According to KHOU, law enforcement sources in Austin said the suspect was pretending to be pregnant before Heidi’s disappearance.

Baby was found in Houston-area home

Broussard and her newborn daughter were last seen around 7:30 a.m. on December 12, dropping Broussard’s son off at an elementary school, police previously said. Authorities believed she returned home with the baby before disappearing. They were reported missing at 7:30 p.m.

Over the past week, investigators with local, state and federal agencies have interviewed family and friends, executed search warrants and followed-up on tips from the community, Austin police Detective Brad Herries said.

Police were eventually led to a residence in the Houston area, where investigators detained an individual on Thursday, Herries said. That evening, police executed a search warrant for the home and vehicles.

During the search, police found a baby whose “visual appearance is consistent with that of baby Margot,” Herries said.

The home remains an active crime scene, and investigators are still looking at multiple locations between Austin and Houston, which are about 165 miles apart.

The father of Broussard’s children, Shane Carey, pleaded for their safe return last week, telling CNN affiliate KEYE that he’d last spoken to Broussard at about 8 a.m. the day they vanished.

When he returned home from work at 2 p.m., Broussard and their daughter were nowhere to be found, Carey told the station. He went to pick up their son from school and then called police when he came home.

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