FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The mother of an 11-month-old girl who was reported missing last week was charged Sunday with the baby's murder, WRAL reported Sunday.
Johni Michelle Heuser, 25, of Spring Lake, N.C., was charged with first-degree-murder in the death of her daughter Harmony Jude Creech. Authorities found the baby's body in Heuser's attic Saturday after the little girl was reported missing by her grandmother Friday.
Harmony apparently had been dead for weeks, Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins said late Saturday night. Rollins said Heuser told investigators she had found the baby dead in its crib and put the body in the attic of her home.
Neighbors said they had been bothered by a foul smell for several weeks and that the smell only subsided recently when overnight temperatures dropped. Several neighbors said they had searched their yards for dead animals because of the smell.
Harmony's father, Ronald Earl Creech II, returned from a 15-month deployment in Iraq on Friday hoping to see his daughter. Harmony was born while he was overseas, police said.
Creech is assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, which is based at Fort Bragg.
Rollins said Creech was picked up at Pope Air Force Base on Friday by his mother and driven to his daughter's home near Spring Lake. They awakened the baby's mother and found the baby missing.
An Amber Alert was issued after the baby was reported missing.
An autopsy is being performed on the child's body to determined how she died, police said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.