Anderson Co. woman sentenced for killing newborn, burying her bo - FOX Carolina 21

Anderson Co. woman sentenced for killing newborn, burying her body in woods

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Joanie Holcombe (Source: ACSO) Joanie Holcombe (Source: ACSO)
Memorial set up after newborn's body found (file/FOX Carolina) Memorial set up after newborn's body found (file/FOX Carolina)
ANDERSON, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An Anderson County woman was sentenced to prison time on Thursday for killing her newborn baby in 2015.

Joanie Holcombe, 23, was arrested in January 2016, nearly a month after she gave birth to a baby girl at her trailer. Investigators said Holcombe delivered the baby on her own and placed her in the toilet before putting her in a trash bag, causing her to suffocate.

Coworkers and family members told authorities they believed she had been concealing a pregnancy.

To cover up the abuse, Holcombe buried the newborn baby in the woods. When dogs dug up the child's body, investigators said she re-buried her.

On Jan. 9, 2016 the baby was found on Cherokee Drive when a passerby saw the badly decomposed body. Investigators confirmed bite marks from a canine were on the body.

Although Holcombe initially denied the events, she later told deputies she placed the baby in a plastic bag after giving birth to her on Dec. 13, 2015.

Holcombe's mother, Sherry Sanders, spoke to FOX Carolina about the case and said she was horrified by her daughter's actions but believes mental health played a role in the tragedy.

"It's been horrible to know my daughter may have done something so drastic and inhuman," Sanders said. 

She said she confronted Holcombe once about if she was pregnant, but Holcombe told her she was just gaining weight and felt self-conscious about it.

“What makes this case even more tragic is that Ms. Holcombe could have avoided any prosecution and prevented the senseless death of a newborn by
taking advantage of South Carolina’s Safe Haven Law,” said Solicitor David R. Wagner.

The Safe Haven Law, also known as Daniel's Law, protects those who leave a baby unharmed at a safe haven such as a police station, fire station, hospital or church during staffed hours. The law applies to newborns up to 60 days after birth.

Holcombe was sentenced to 50 years in prison for homicide by child abuse and is not eligible for parole.


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