Arkansas mom, premature son die after stabbing

A newlywed was being held on a murder charge Wednesday after his pregnant wife staggered into a western Arkansas police station with a stab wound to her chest and collapsed.

Emergency responders rushed Celestia Duffin, who was nearly seven months pregnant, to a local hospital where doctors delivered her baby, though both she and her son died, Fort Smith police spokesman Sgt. Daniel Grubbs said.

Duffin ran to the police station from a nearby traffic accident Tuesday where officers found her husband, James Herring. The couple married a week ago Wednesday, according to court records, but Herring told investigators they were already talking about divorce, Grubbs said.

After talking to investigators, Herring was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and attempted murder. Those charges could change because the baby died after Herring was booked into jail, Grubbs said.

Formal charges are expected later this week.

Herring, 34, was being held without bond in Sebastian County, near the Oklahoma state border. He didn't have an attorney listed in jail records and a message left at a phone number listed for him wasn't returned.

A prosecutor didn't return phone calls either.

Authorities believe that Duffin was driving with her husband when Herring stabbed her and caused her to crash. The 32-year-old woman managed to run to the nearby police station, where she asked for help before collapsing and losing consciousness.

About the same time, someone called police about the accident and found Herring, who "appeared to be in a state of shock," Grubbs said in a statement. Herring wasn't injured and no one else was in the car, Grubbs said.

At the hospital, doctors delivered Duffin's son, but he died before hospital staff could fly him to Little Rock for care.

A man who answered a phone number listed for a relative of Duffin's said her family wasn't ready to talk.


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