ERWIN, N.C. (WNCN) — Two Harnett County parents remain in jail without a bond after police say they murdered their newborn baby.
Both Gracie Riddle, 18, and Dustin VanDyke, 28, appeared in court virtually Monday morning from Harnett County Jail. They are accused of killing their infant and burying the child last November.
Erwin Chief of Police Jonathan Johnson said someone who knew the parents tipped off investigators on Friday night. Hours later, a search warrant was executed and cadaver dogs led them to the infant’s remains in the backyard of the home Riddle and VanDyke live in.
Riddle and VanDyke were arrested Saturday night and charged with first-degree murder.
“It was pretty gruesome,” Chief Johnson said.
The chief said investigators believe Riddle gave birth around November 22 and the baby was killed shortly after.
“It’s unfortunate it took this long to finally receive this information and have some closure but still some questions need to be answered,” Chief Johnson said.
He said all of his detectives on this case are either parents or expecting.
“This is one that’s going to stick with us for a while,” Chief Johnson said
Chief Johnson said this case has taken an emotional toll on them.
“They must conduct the investigation and stay strong and gather the evidence. But it’s going to take a while to get over,” he said.
“We are human just like everyone else I mean you can never really prepare,” Chief Johnson also said.
Relatives of both Riddle and VanDyke sat in court on Monday morning and declined to speak with CBS 17. One relative told CBS 17 to “just drop it.”
The chief said both suspects could face additional charges and more people could be charged before the investigation is over.
Both Riddle and VanDyke are due back in court Sept. 6 at 9 a.m. Erwin Police Department is also investigating if Riddle and VanDyke are cousins.
“I’m not at this point willing to release that information,” Chief Johnson said.
Anyone with information about this case is urged to call Erwin Police Department at (910) 897-5122.