OCEAN CITY, Md. – Police will patrol the house of a woman accused of hiding four dead fetuses to prevent retaliation against her relatives.
The longtime boyfriend and his four children with Christy Freeman, 37, are free to return to the home because it is no longer a crime scene, police said.
By late afternoon, an unknown person had set up a roadside memorial on the family's lawn — a small plastic angel and votive candle with a handwritten note in cursive script that read, "Pray all the unborn Children. Rest gently in the Arms of God."
Police on Wednesday finished a three-day search of the property. Investigators untied crime tape around the house and loaded wheelbarrows into a large van.
Investigators found no further human remains in the run-down home of Christy Freeman, 37, who is accused of causing her 26-week-old fetus to be stillborn last week.
Police searching for that fetus found the boy wrapped in a towel under Freeman's bathroom sink, plus two more sets of fetal remains wrapped in plastic in a bedroom trunk and a fourth in a Winnebago outside.
Police said they still don't know whether the three additional sets of remains — all described as bones — belonged to Freeman or how or when they died, though all are thought to be pre-term babies.
Four investigators spent about three hours in the house Wednesday morning, loading at least eight brown paper bags into an evidence van. Ocean City Police spokesman Barry Neeb said the bags contained potential evidence, but not human remains. He would not elaborate, but he said all items recovered were items police expected to see.
"Nothing they got was a surprise," he said.
Neeb said officers on patrol would go by the house frequently until further notice for the family's safety, noting that Freeman's alleged crime has unsettled folks in this beach resort that hasn't seen a murder in five years. Police say retaliation was the suspected motive in a case of vandalism earlier this week at the couple's taxi business in West Ocean City, where four classic cars had busted windows.
Neeb said having an officer at the site was "the prudent thing to do given the high-profile nature of this case."
Freeman was being held without bond in the Worcester County jail awaiting grand jury indictment proceedings that have not yet been announced. She is being represented by a public defender, Burton Anderson, who did not respond to requests for comment, Wednesday.
Freeman's boyfriend, Raymond W. Godman Jr., has not been charged with a crime. Police say they've interviewed him, but they couldn't share any explanations he may have given about Freeman's pregnancies.
Now investigators await word from the Maryland medical examiner's office to prove the fetuses were Freeman's. "She says they are. We don't have any reason to believe they're not," Neeb said.
The medical examiner's office told police that it was "conferring with other experts" and authorities should not expect any further results before at least next week, Neeb said. He told reporters that there is little police and the county prosecutor can do until a lab analysis reveals more about the fetuses and how and when they died.
"The search is finally done. Now begins all the follow-up," he said.
The prosecutor, Worcester County State's Attorney Joel Todd, told reporters Monday that authorities believe Freeman caused her baby to be stillborn last week. But he hasn't talked to the press since then and refused comment Wednesday through an aide about additional possible charges.