Prosecutors were deliberating Wednesday what — if any — charges to bring against a Missouri family who had a dead baby entombed in a concrete-filled tub in their back yard.
The discovery was made when police in Pleasant Hill, in Cass County about 20 miles southeast of Kansas City, were tracking down a report of a stolen car, which was found behind the home Monday, authorities told NBC station KSHB of Kansas City.
During the investigation, police learned that a baby might have died or been stillborn at the home about a month ago, Police Chief Robert Driscoll told the local newspaper, the Cass County Democrat.
With the permission of the family's father, police began a search and found a plastic feed bucket filled with concrete, Driscoll said. The baby's body was inside, he said.
Authorities wouldn't identify the family or specify whether the baby was a boy or a girl. They told KSHB it still wasn't known whether the baby was stillborn or died after birth.
The father was briefly detained for questioning but was released, and the family is cooperating with the investigation, authorities said.
The family's mother has been in the hospital for several weeks, Driscoll said. Four other children living in the home were staying with grandparents.
A decision on charges was pending an autopsy report, he said.
Rick Gleim, a neighbor, told KSHB that the discovery had shocked the small neighborhood, where suspicions that something was wrong had been discussed for several days.
The family kept odd hours, and in recent weeks, it had been having many visitors, Gleim said. But the mother hadn't been seen for weeks.
"The sad thing about it is I'm even scared now to live here, because I'm not going to know what's going on next door," he said. "All of a sudden, it's like 'wow,' and you find all of this stuff going on."
First published November 6 2013, 2:00 PM