Baby found buried in Erwin backyard believed to have been dead since Thanksgiving :: WRAL.com


— A couple in Erwin is being charged with the murder of their baby after the child was found buried in a backyard.

28-year-old Dustin VanDyke and 18-year-old Gracie Riddle are being charged for the murder of their baby.

Gracie Riddle and Dustin VanDyke

The baby was found buried in their backyard on Moulton Spring Road in Erwin.

On Sunday, Erwin police told WRAL News they believe the baby has been dead since approximately Thanksgiving of 2021.

Police said a family member tipped them off Friday night at around 9 p.m. Police said they have reason to believe they’ve known about this and just now reported it.

“I think this person just finally got to the point to where their conscience got to him and they decided they needed to talk about it and tell someone and that’s how we initially got the report,” Erwin Chief of Police Jonathan Johnson said.

Police were able to get a search warrant on property and with use of a cadaver K-9 they located the infant in the backyard.

Both VanDyke and Riddle were dealt first-degree murder charges. They are being held without bond at the Harnett County Detention Center.

The death does not appear to be accidental, according to police. The gender and age of the child is unknown at this time.

Police are waiting on an autopsy for the cause of death.

Johnson said this is an isolated incident and the public is not facing any threat.

On Monday, VanDyke and Riddle will face a judge.

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