TN woman kept newborn baby remains in storage unit for 27 years


The remains of a newborn baby were found in a storage unit in Tullahoma, Tennessee. They had been there for 27 years, police say.

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A Tennessee woman was arrested after the skeletal remains of a newborn baby were found in a storage unit she began renting 27 years ago, according to prosecutors and local media.

Police in Tullahoma received a call about unidentified remains that were found in a storage unit, which had recently been auctioned off, 14th Judicial District Attorney General Craig Northcott said in a news release.

The storage unit was rented by 62-year-old Melissa Simms McCann, the Tullahoma News reported.

“Upon inspection of the remains, it was not readily apparent if they were human,” the release said. “Upon sending the remains to the medical examiner’s office, they determined that the remains were that of a human newborn.”

Police believe that McCann had rented the unit since 1994 — just days after she gave birth to the baby — with the sole purpose of storing the baby’s remains there, the release said.

The remains were stored in a cooler, which was the lone item in the storage unit. McCann would have been in her mid-30s when she first began renting the space, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

The Coffee County Grand Jury indicted McCann on two counts of abuse of a corpse, according to court records.

“Heartbreaking but I hope we can give this baby a little bit of a voice,” Northcott said in a Facebook post.

Tullahoma police Chief Jason Williams told the Times Free Press that cases like this are tough to investigate.

“Any investigation involving a child is difficult, especially during the Christmas season,” he told the outlet. Our department is dedicated to resolving this case in partnership with the DA’s office.”

Tullahoma is about 75 miles southwest of Nashville.

Vandana Ravikumar is a McClatchy Real-Time reporter. She grew up in northern Nevada and studied journalism and political science at Arizona State University. Previously, she reported for USA Today, The Dallas Morning News, and Arizona PBS.

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