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Mother of girl, 9, found stuffed in duffel bag in Oregon forest is charged with murder, officials say

Shawna Browning, 29, the mother of Haley Mae Coblentz, and Browning's significant other, Lauren Harrison, 34, were charged with aggravated murder, police say.

The body of a 9-year-old girl found in a duffel bag in the woods in Oregon last year was identified, and two women, including the child’s mother, were arrested and charged with murder, officials said.

The girl's mother, Shawna Browning, 29, and her “significant other,” Lauren Harrison, 34, were arrested in Detroit on Tuesday and face a charge each of aggravated murder, Oregon State Police said in statement Wednesday.

On Dec. 10 last year, a pedestrian found the girl’s decomposing body “concealed inside a duffle bag” in the forest near a rest stop along the H.B. Van Duzer Scenic Corridor in Lincoln County, police said.

The unidentified child appeared to have been dead for one to two months, police said.

The girl, whom police identified Wednesday as Haley Mae Coblentz, was identified by a specialty DNA laboratory that positively identified her on Oct. 4, police said Wednesday.

“Haley was born in Colorado. She was living with her biological mother and mother’s girlfriend in multiple places in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest since 2015,” police said in the statement. “She was not reported as a missing person at the time of her death.”

Haley Mae Coblentz.
Haley Mae Coblentz.Oregon State Police

Oregon State Police Capt. Stephanie Bigman told NBC affiliate KGW of Portland that 150 tips about the girl's identity didn't crack the case. The fact that the girl wasn't reported missing complicated matters, she said.

"Children don't have a lot of history in the world," Bigman told the station. "They don't necessarily have a big stamp. She was not on any database. Nobody knew that she was missing."

Investigators found Browning and Harrison in Detroit, where they were arrested, police said. Investigators also served a search warrant on their vehicle and their hotel room, police said.

It was not immediately clear Thursday whether Browning and Harrison were represented by attorneys. They were being held without bail in Wayne County, Michigan, police said.

The evidence against them was not clear Thursday.

Their arrest warrants were sealed and will not be released, a spokesperson with the Oregon State Police said by email. The suspects are expected to be extradited to Oregon, but the timeline for when that might happen was not available, the spokesperson said.