A Florida woman was arrested after a pair of New York motorists traveling through West Virginia spotted her pulling the body of a child out of her crashed vehicle and then dragging it into the woods.
Erica Newsome, 37, had been driving for two days with her dead 11-year-old daughter before she crashed her truck into a guard rail in West Virginia on Sunday, police said. That’s when the motorists spotted Newsome pull a small body wrapped in a blanket out of the truck, the Pocahontas Times reported.
They phoned 911 and authorities responded to the scene around 11:20 a.m. They found Newsome 150 feet up a nearby hillside , the body of her daughter Kaye-lea Plummer, next to her, police said.
The coroner said Kaye-lea had been dead for at least 24 hours when authorities discovered her. They believe her death occurred in Jacksonville.
“It was obvious that the 11-year-old did not die from injuries from the accident,” State Police Sgt. Herby Barlow said told the newspaper. “Her injuries were non-motor vehicle injuries.”
Newsome said in a Miranda statement that she intended to take the girl to Buffalo, N.Y., where her father lived, according to the Times. She said her daughter did not move, eat, drink or use the restroom in the two days it took for them to drive from Florida to West Virginia.
Kaye-lea’s father, Donath Plummer, told News 4 that Newsome randomly texted him Saturday, telling him she’d be dropping the girl off the next day. Then she texted again to tell him they were having car trouble and that they needed rest.
On Sunday, he learned his daughter was dead.
Plummer told the news station he believed his estranged wife “snapped” and that she’d been “the only person I trusted with my child.”
Barlow said if it weren’t for the New York couple, they never would have gone looking for the 11-year-old girl.
“If she hadn’t been discovered by [the couple] I wouldn’t have known about the child. She had not been reported missing,” Barlow told the Pocahontas Times.