CHESTERFIELD, S.C. — The mother who reported that her baby was missing before the child was found dead, is a Scotland High School graduate.
An Amber Alert was sparked Tuesday after Breanna Lewis told authorities that she was walking to her mailbox when a man pulled up in an SUV, jumped out, attacked her and took her baby from her arms at her Jackson Road home.
The 19-year-old was arrested Tuesday night and charged with filing a false report mere hours after she said that her daughter, 11-month-old Harlee Lane Lewis, had been taken.
On Wednesday, the Chesterfield Sheriff’s Office officially declared her a person of interest in the case and added a charge of improper disposal of human remains.
Lewis is, “being held in custody at the Chesterfield County Detention Center as the primary suspect in the death of her 11-month-old child,” Sheriff Jay Brooks said in a press release. “She has admitted to lying about the assault, which led to her being charged May 29 with filing a false report.”
Chesterfield is approximately 30 miles west of Bennettsville.
Lewis attended Scotland High School in 2013 and had recently worked at B jangles in Laurinburg. She was not employed at the restaurant at the time of the incident.
Leighton Bell of Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office could not say how long Lewis had been living in Chesterfield.
Lewis called the Chesterfield Sheriff’s Office at 2 p.m. Tuesday to report the baby missing. She told deputies that she had walked to the mailbox with the baby in her arms and had been attacked and punched in the face by a man, Brooks said. She said the man snatched the baby and fled in a gold and tan SUV. Lewis gave authorities a detailed description of her alleged assailant.
Deputies called in the FBI and State Law Enforcement Division to assist in the hunt for the attacker and child.
However, her story began to seem suspicious as deputies questioned Lewis as to the details of Harlee’s disappearance.
“Within 90 minutes they had canceled the Amber Alert. They were already suspecting her story and they picked up on that [the fact that she might be lying] once the body was found,” Bell said.
By 4 p.m., baby Harlee was found 1,000 yards behind the home deceased in a plastic bag inside a diaper box, according to Brooks.
The remains were positively identified as those of the child and the body was sent for an autopsy on Tuesday evening. The results had not been released as of Wednesday afternoon, and Bell could not say when the examination of the body would be completed and the results released.
Lewis claims that she blacked out and does not remember what happened to Harlee and does not not remember putting her in the box, according to Brooks.
Chesterfield sheriff’s office said that they believe that Lewis has a drug problem and were waiting until to question her more thoroughly. Bell could not say what led them to the conclusion that Lewis had been using drugs.
Scotland County residents expressed shock and sadness at the events.
One resident who remembered Lewis from Scotland High recalled her as “nice when I knew her and sweet.”
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169