The Texas mother found dead in the trunk of a car and the woman arrested in connection with her disappearance had once been best friends, who met at church camp decades earlier, friends say.
Magen Fieramusca, 33, is facing two counts of kidnapping and tampering with a corpse after the body of Heidi Broussard was found in the trunk of a car at Fieramusca’s home — days after Broussard disappeared from her Austin home with her 3-week-old baby, Margot Carey, CBS News reports.
Authorities believe Fieramusca pretended to be pregnant at the same time as her friend, and even attended Margot Carey’s birth before the mother-daughter pair disappeared.
Baby Margot was found by authorities inside Fieramusca’s house unharmed, KHOU reports.
Those who knew the childhood best friends are now trying to piece together what happened between them.
Broussard and Fieramusca met decades ago at a church camp and quickly became inseparable, their mutual friend Kristina Sellers told KHOU.
“Magen really looked out for me at camp. They clicked instantly. I believe they were about 11 years old," Sellers recalled.
Sellers eventually lost touch with the friends but said she was “pretty shocked” and “blown away” after hearing the allegations against Fieramusca — the same woman who had once served as a role model to her.
“What would ever make her stray from the foundation she was raised in, the church she was raised in? What happened? What would drive her to that point?" Sellers wondered.
As authorities closed in on Fieramusca, another friend, Caressa Nolte, was being interviewed live on the “Jay for Justice” podcast, Fox News reports.
When the podcast host noted the owner of the home where the body was found and mentioned that a “Magen Humphrey” and her husband had a baby registry, Nolte immediately recognized the name.
“Oh my God. What?,” she said. “That’s Magen, her best friend. She met her at church camp with me.”
Nolte reconnected with Fieramusca after Broussard disappeared and claimed Fieramusca was distraught after their mutual friend vanished.
“She’s been like sick over this,” she said in the podcast. “She just had a baby and she’s breastfeeding.”
Nolte said she had never seen pictures of Fieramusca’s baby, who she thought was named Luna, but claimed that she had heard the baby crying in the past.
Law enforcement now believes Fieramusca had been plotting to steal Broussard’s baby even before she was born, KHOU reports.
Broussard and her young daughter disappeared on Dec. 12, after they were seen dropping Broussard’s son off at school that morning. Her longtime boyfriend, Shane Carey, called Austin police later that afternoon when Broussard failed to pick up their son from school.
Surveillance video outside Broussard’s apartment showed her willingly getting into Fieramusca’s car the day she disappeared, sources told KTRK.
An autopsy revealed that Broussard had been strangled to death, KVUE reports.
Broussard’s mother, Tammy Broussard, issued a statement after her daughter’s body was found, saying the family was “overwhelmed with grief,” according to local station KVUE.
“We’re getting through as a family,” she said. “We’re blessed with having many of Heidi’s friends to help and Austin and Lake Charles community have been wonderful with their support and kindness and we’re grateful to them.”
She said the family’s focus is now on helping Broussard’s 6-year-old son deal with the sudden loss of his mother, especially with Christmas right around the corner.
“She was very loved and we want to do this as a family with his father, Shane, and grandfather, Ty, and all the others who loved Heidi,” she said.
Fieramusca could soon be facing additional charges in connection to her friend’s death. Investigators are also looking into whether anyone else may have been involved in Broussard's death.
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