MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — A jury has found a South Carolina woman guilty on two counts of homicide by child abuse after she killed two infants and threw their bodies in the trash.
The verdict was made a few hours after the jury began deliberations Thursday morning.
Alyssa Dayvault did not appear on Thursday for the fourth consecutive day in her trial. She could face up to 35 years in prison.
A warrant was issued for Dayvault on Monday, in court protocol, to continue the trial in her absence. She was supposed to appear in court Monday, where she could have denied her appearance for trial.
Since she hasn’t appeared in court, a judge will seal her sentence and issue a bench warrant for her arrest.
The case was about “extreme indifference to human life,” prosecutors told the court Wednesday.
Dayvault’s defense opened arguments on Wednesday by saying that she unexpectedly gave birth in her home.
Dayvault was admitted to Grand Strand Regional Hospital on Dec. 5, 2018 “for complaints of heavy vaginal bleeding.”
Hospital staff initially thought that Dayvault was experiencing an early incomplete pregnancy, Jessica Brown, an OB/GYN, told the court Wednesday. An ultrasound showed an enlarged uterus with a mass, which didn’t look like a usual miscarriage.
Dayvault was admitted to the hospital for blood transfusions before surgery, where a full term placenta and cord were found.
Dayvault initially denied her pregnancy to hospital staff, according to warrants. A urine sample taken at a hospital at the time tested positive for THC.
She reportedly said that she was scared and didn’t know what to do, and that no one knew she was pregnant, according to information presented in court.
When interviewed at her home, Dayvault denied being pregnant and giving birth, and then admitted to being pregnant twice, Erin Beasley, who works for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, told the court.
Dayvault later admitted she birthed a newborn male child at her home in North Myrtle Beach, according to warrants. She said the child “was born alive and took multiple gasping breaths after having been born.”
After interviewing Dayvault a second time, investigators say, they went to her home where they found the remains of a child in the trash can on the side of the residence.
Dayvault told Erin Beasley, who works for SLED as an agent on its child fatality unit, that her labor was quick. Dayvault said that she was alone, according to Beasley, and she couldn’t move for about 15 to 20 minutes. She passed out, and said the baby was blue when she woke up.
A second doctor testified on Wednesday who allegedly treated Dayvault before she gave birth after she went to the hospital with flu-like symptoms.
Doctor Jorge Carreras, who since retired, worked for Grand Strand Medical Center, he says he could tell Dayvault had an enlarged uterus so during the physical exam, he listened to the heart beat of the fetus.
Carreras testified, the heartbeat was regular and the defendant’s flu-like symptoms would not have had any impact on the viability of the unborn child’s life.
An autopsy performed on the baby born in 2018 found that the baby was born alive, Nick Batailse, a forensic psychologist, testified to the court on Thursday. A report given to him showed the baby was placed in the trash, his umbilical cord was torn and that Dayvault didn’t seek medical care until days after the birth.
The autopsy ruled out any genetic diseases. The baby’s organs were found to be in good condition. No cause of death was found, Batailse said, and it was difficult to tell if the baby was born alive or dead.
He said there was no physical evidence that the baby died from suffocation.
The defense argued that Dayvault is facing the wrong charges and should not be charged with murder. They said that it isn’t illegal to birth a baby at home, and that while it isn’t ideal that Dayvault put the baby in the trash, she is not on trial for the desecration of human remains.
The prosecution has failed to present any witnesses or evidence to support that she caused the babys’ deaths, according to the defense. They argued that it is not child abuse if a baby is born dead and Dayvault didn’t call authorities.
Chris Matechen, the children’s’ biological father, thanked the court Thursday. He said that he has lived with no closure for the last two years. He said that Dayvault had been a free woman for eight months without being monitored, and that he wants her found soon.
John Matechen, the childrens’ grandfather, also thanked the court and said he was happy with the trial’s outcome.
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