An Oklahoma woman allegedly gave birth to a baby and then dumped the child in the trash, prompting her estranged husband to bury the newborn girl, the Enid News & Eagle reports.
Now both adults have been arrested and authorities are searching for the baby, who is presumed dead.
Prosecutors this week charged 40-year-old Sarah Nickole Helton and 60-year-old Kevin Ray Helton with second-degree murder and child neglect.
Police began investigating the pair after someone borrowing Kevin’s phone discovered photographs and videos of what appeared to be the dead child.
The phone also contained a text message from Kevin to Sarah that allegedly said: “Do you want me to tell your daughter what really happened to her sister? I buried her this morning because you left her in the trash,” according to the newspaper, citing court records.
Additional text messages indicated that the baby was born on December 27 at Kevin’s home in Hayward, Oklahoma.
When interviewed by investigators, Kevin and Sarah provided conflicting accounts of what happened. Sarah alleged that Kevin provided the baby to an adoption agency, however police could find no evidence substantiating that claim.
Meanwhile, Kevin alleged that he urged Sarah to call an ambulance during the delivery but that she refused. She later told police that she did not want to go the hospital because she was wanted on an open warrant and was concerned that she would be arrested. Kevin told police he later found the newborn in the trash after Sarah had left his home.
The charges allege that the pair “failed or omitted to obtain proper medical care, adequate nurturance and affection, food, clothing, shelter, sanitation or hygiene and/or special care necessary for the child’s health and safety caused by the physical condition of the child,” according to the News & Eagle, quoting court records.
Investigators searching Kevin’s residence wrote in an affidavit that they had “difficulty staying inside . . . for an extended period of time due to the extremely unpleasant environment,” the News & Eagle reports. The investigators alleged that a large amount of dog feces was on the floor, along with numerous other objects and household items.
Authorities have not yet located the child and believe that she is dead.
A judge set bond at $250,000 for Sarah and $200,000 for Kevin, according to the Oklahoman newspaper.
Public records show that in 2004, Sarah pleaded guilty to accessory to murder in connection with the death of a man in Tulsa. Kevin also has a previous felony conviction.
To report information about the case, call the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office at 580-237-0244; the case number is 23-0192.
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[Featured Photo: Kevin and Sarah Helton/Garfield County Sheriff’s Office]