Authorities in North Carolina charged a woman Thursday night with the attempted first-degree murder of her daughter hours after investigators found the 7-week-old girl in a ravine.
Authorities booked Krista Noelle Madden, 35, into Henderson County Jail on one count of attempted first-degree murder. She's accused of putting her baby into a car seat and then throwing the seat down a 50- to -75-foot ravine, Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin said.
"All indications at this point lead us to believe that she was the one" who threw the child into the ravine, Griffin said. "All indications at this point lead us to believe that she acted alone."
Jail records show she was being held Friday on a $750,000 bond.
Henderson County sheriff's deputies and Asheville police said Madden and her daughter, Shaylie, were reportedly kidnapped Thursday from Biltmore Park, a mixed-use area that has retail stores.
Authorities were able to track Madden to Henderson County, where they also found her abandoned car. She told authorities she had escaped from a pair who had kidnapped her and her daughter; however, Griffin said K-9 units searching the scene found no evidence that anyone else had been in the area.
"At this point, we have no reason to believe any of that, that's based on any fact," Griffin said Friday at a news conference. "We don't believe that to be factual at all."
Griffin declined to address specific evidence that led investigators to believe the abduction was fictitious. Police said Madden was not the person to report herself and Shaylie missing Thursday.
Just before 8 p.m. Thursday, authorities got a 911 call from a couple who claimed to have found a baby in a ravine near their home. Authorities confirmed the child was Shaylie.
"It's by the grace of God that we're standing here with a child that's been discovered and is alive," Griffin said.
Scott Fowler told WLOS he and his wife heard an infant crying near their driveway. The sound led them to discover Shaylie and the car seat.
"My wife said, 'Scott, there's a baby crying down there,'" he told WLOS. "I'm thinking, 'What kind of human being can do this?'"
Griffin said that when she was found, Shaylie was not in the car seat. However, he said, "Indications lead us to believe that the child went over the bank in the car seat. After it hit the ground, subsequently, the child rolled out of the car seat."
Fowler said Shaylie was in good shape when he found her. Griffin said he had no update on her condition Friday but that he understood the girl to be in "very good condition at this point."
Authorities continue to investigate.
WSOCTV.com contributed to this report.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.