Dead baby found in freezer - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dead baby found in freezer

August 2, 2002

A South Georgia mother admits she hid a baby inside a freezer. Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin explains, "Basically, a body had been abandoned in the freezer for a year and a half." Investigators don't yet know if the baby girl was dead or alive when put inside the deep freezer.

It's one of those stories that's hard to believe. A full term baby girl, wrapped several times in plastic grocery bags, and put inside a deep freezer. The mother's secret was discovered after her 18-year-old daughter and 20-year-old son searched the freezer for something to eat. They called the mother at work and she called police. Later the mother was handcuffed and taken to jail. Now, Decatur County Sheriff Deputies are trying to find out if the child died of natural causes or was killed.

41-year-old Melissa Hamilton Ferguson of Decatur County started out as a frantic 911 caller, but turned into a suspect and was arrested. Sheriff Griffin says, "Some of her children when they were going through the freezer looking for something to cook. They found this baby that looks like a full term baby."

Ferguson tried to explain to 911 operators how a baby got in her carport deep freezer. She told the operator other people shared her freezer. The 911 dispatcher was shocked and so were Ferguson's neighbors. Demos Holis lives two houses down. He says, "When I found out, we couldn't go past the yellow tape. I saw where they put it in the bag and I shook my head. I couldn't believe it."

Ferguson admitted to deputies she put the baby girl in the freezer a year and a half ago. Sheriff Griffin says, "The big question. Is this a homicide or is this an abandoned body for whatever reason? We have to get at the bottom of this and see."

Authorities believe Ferguson is the mother of the dead baby but will await crime lab tests to confirm that. Ferguson for now is charged with concealing death of another person and abandonment of a dead body.

Investigators are waiting on GBI crime lab results to find out if Ferguson is the baby's mother and if the child died naturally or was murdered.

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