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Crime News Family Crimes

South Carolina Mom Who Reported Her Baby’s Kidnapping Arrested After Baby Found Dead

Breanna Lewis' baby Harlee was found dead in a diaper box in a field about 1,000 yards from her home.

By Gina Tron
Facts About Infant Abandonment and Safe Havens

A teen mother in South Carolina claimed her 11-month-old baby was stolen. But police think she knows exactly what happened.

Breanna Lewis, of Chesterfield, has been charged with filing a false police report after her baby Harlee was found dead in a diaper box in a field about 1,000 yards from her home. Lewis has not been charged with the baby's death, but she is being held for questioning about it.

Lewis, 19, called 911 Tuesday afternoon to report a kidnapping. She said she was attacked and that Harlee was stolen right out of her arms when she went to check the mail, according to The Associated Press.

Lewis claimed the abductor was wearing a gray toboggan hat that covered his face, a long black rain jacket and one black glove, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

But police said the supposed kidnapping likely never happened. A brief Amber Alert was canceled after police found Harlee dead. 

Police said Lewis would be held overnight and interviewed on Wednesday. 

Police said she has admitted to making up the kidnapping but claims she doesn’t remember what happened to her daughter. They said Lewis was alone with the baby all day and don't believe anyone else was involved. Police told WPDE that Harlee’s dad committed suicide last year and that his family has been trying to gain custody of her ever since. 

An official cause of death is pending an autopsy. As for Lewis, what she will be charged with may depend on the autopsy report. 

"It may be wrongful disposal of body, maybe not reporting child death, maybe murder, not sure," Brooks told WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina. Police have not released any possible motive.

Lewis has a black eye in her mugshot, which police have attributed to a recent car accident she was in, according to WSOC-TV. She has no prior criminal history.

“Tonight we have our Chesterfield County brothers and sisters on our hearts,” a sheriff’s department from a neighboring county wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “Today they feverishly tried to find a precious baby girl. They followed protocols and procedures. They hoped. They prayed. In the end they indeed found her. [...] Tonight we pray for the officers who will try in vain to sleep. They will see her. We never forget. We will go home and let our own babies snuggle a little extra.”

[Photo: Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office]

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