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At least two of the three babies whose skeletal remains were found in a filthy, vermin-infested Massachusetts home may have been alive "for some period of time" before they were found, a prosecutor said in court Tuesday. Both bodies were found wearing diapers and one-piece infant outfits in closets in the Blackstone home, Assistant District Attorney John Bradley said during a bail hearing for Erika Murray in Uxbridge District Court.
Murray, 31, of Blackstone, Massachusetts, had been held without bail since her arraignment last month on charges of fetal death concealment, witness intimidation and permitting substantial injury to a child. On Tuesday, Judge David Locke ordered Murray held on $1 million cash bail. Prosecutors had asked for $5 million cash bail.
The state Department of Children and Families removed four children ranging in age from 5 months to 13 years from Murray's home in August after her 10-year-old son asked a neighbor for help in quieting a crying baby. The neighbor found the youngest child, a 5-month-old girl, and a 3-year-old girl, both covered in their own feces, in separate bedrooms.
After interviewing the older children, police got a search warrant and went back to the house, where they found the skeletal remains of one baby with a full head of hair in a backpack in the closet of an upstairs bedroom. After discovering those remains, police obtained another search warrant. During the second search, they found the remains of two other babies in another bedroom, also inside a closet.
Bradley said prosecutors still don't know how the babies died or their ages and are awaiting findings from the state medical examiner's office. But he said the fact that two of the babies were clothed seems to indicate "at least two of the babies were alive for some period of time" before they died.
Murray's attorney, Keith Halpern, said the fact that the babies were clothed is not by itself proof that the infants were alive for a significant amount of time. Halpern has said he believes Murray is suffering from a mental illness. He would not elaborate on that when asked about it Tuesday.
- The Associated Press