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South Carolina mother charged after baby found dead in a diaper box

Breanna Lewis (left) and Baby Harlee Lewis (right) (Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office/Viewer submitted/WPDE background)

A baby girl was found dead after her mother initially told police the child was abducted from her arms outside a home off of Jackson Road in Chesterfield County, according Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks.

But Brooks says they now believe the baby was not abducted and the mother is their primary suspect. 19-year-old Breanna Denise Lewis is charged with filing a false police report.

Lewis was being questioned, according to Brooks, and admitted to making up the story about the kidnapping. She says she doesn't remember what happened to the baby. Neighbors say they didn't think anyone lived at the residence.

Initial reports, according to Brooks, were that the woman told police she walked to her mailbox with the child in her arms when a man pulled up in a gold or tan SUV and hit her in the head multiple times, almost knocking her out. She said the man then took the baby from her and left in the SUV.

Deputies responding to the scene found the body of the infant hidden in a plastic bag inside a diaper box about 1,000 yards from the home, according to Brooks.

An Amber Alert was issued for the child, identified as 11-month-old Harlee Lane Lewis, before she was found dead and before Brooks said they began to question the abduction story.

The mother told police she had never seen the man who reportedly assaulted her before. She said he was wearing a gray toboggan hat, which was covering his face, a long black rain jacket and one black glove, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

Brooks said SLED and the FBI are assisting in the investigation. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday on Baby Harlee.

The sheriff said the child's father committed suicide in 2017. He said the father's family had been trying to get custody of the little girl.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office at (843) 623-2101 or 911.

We will bring you more information as soon as it is released to us.

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