The South Carolina infant found dead in a diaper box Tuesday possibly died of natural causes, police officials announced Thursday.
According to WIS, Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks said mother Breanna Lewis, 19, told investigators that baby Harlee had “pushed her to the brink” but wouldn’t speculate on what her comment meant. Lewis is accused of falsely telling officers Tuesday that an unknown man had assaulted her before stealing her baby.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Harlee’s body was found in a plastic bag inside a diaper box located approximately 1,000 yards from her Chesterfield County home two hours after Breanna made the report.
Breanna reportedly admitted to fabricating the kidnapping story that sparked a brief AMBER alert. She also claimed her facial bruising happened last week when she drove around a curb too fast and flipped her car. The infant was with a babysitter at the time, according to WBTV.
WIS reported that the mother also told police that she blacks out during stressful ordeals and doesn’t remember how her daughter died.
Brooks held back tears while trying to grasp why a mother would discard her child’s body the way Breanna allegedly did to Harlee.
“The hardest part of this, is how do you put a baby in a garbage bag and throw it away?” he asked.
Brooks previously told WDPE that Harlee’s father died by suicide in 2017 and that his family was trying to get custody of the baby girl.
An autopsy was reportedly completed but hasn’t been released to the public. However, WSOC learned that Harlee died between 8 and 8:30 a.m. Tuesday—about six hours before her mother called police.
Brooks said Thursday that it’s possible the 11-month-old suffocated while sleeping in a crib full of blankets and toys or succumbed to natural causes, according to the Associated Press. He also claimed that the coroner said Harlee was “mighty small” for an 11-month-old.
Police said the coroner’s findings will determine whether additional charges are forthcoming.
Meanwhile, Breanna is charged with filing a false police report and improper disposal of human remains. Her bail was set at $71,000. Brooks said he’ll work with prosecutors to expedite a mental examination if it seems Breanna will make bail—something he doesn’t believe is likely.
[Featured image: Breanna Lewis/Police handout; Harlee Lewis/South Carolina Law Enforcement Division]