The North Carolina mother who claimed she and her 7-week-old baby had been kidnapped by masked attackers was charged with attempted murder Friday after her child was found alive at the bottom of a 75-foot ravine, police said.
“We believe she was thrown over,” Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin said at a press conference on Friday morning. “When the child was discovered, the child was out of the car seat, however, the indications lead us to believe the child went over the bank in the car seat and after it hit the ground, subsequently, it rolled out of the car seat.”
The infant, 7-week-old Shaylie, was found safe Thursday night, hours after her mother, 35-year-old Krista Noelle Madden, told police that a man and a woman wearing ski masks had kidnapped her child, according to police. On Friday morning, Madden was charged with attempted first-degree murder, and she’s currently being held in Henderson County on a $750,000 bond.
“By the grace of God we are standing here with a child that’s been discovered and is alive,” Griffin said.
Authorities said Madden called police around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, claiming she and her infant had been kidnapped in Biltmore Park by two suspects and were taken away in a silver 2014 Mazda CX-5 that was later located in Henderson County.
Madden told police that she was able to get away from the kidnappers, but her infant, who was wearing “a pink onesie with horizontal white stripes,” was still with the masked assailants. She described the suspects as a thin “male and female” wearing ski masks, but did not offer details on how she managed to escape, cops said.
Four laters later, the baby was found by a resident who heard the cries of a baby at the bottom of a Henderson County ravine while retrieving her mail, about 30 miles from where the kidnapping was reported, Griffin said Friday.
“This family discovered the child,” Griffin said, adding that the baby is in “very good condition” at a local hospital. “We had a female that goes to check her mailbox, and she really believes she hears the faint cries of an infant. She summons her husband who is a self-employed grating contractor. He arrives in the area and descends into about a 75-foot ravine to find the child along with a car seat over the bank.”
On Friday, police said they “don’t believe” that the alleged kidnapping occurred, and they’re no longer looking for the two suspects.
“All indications lead us to believe at this point that she acted alone,” Griffin said of Madden. “She did provide enough information about her involvement that gave us the probable cause...and we came to the conclusion to move ahead with the attempted murder charge.”
Madden, who is a registered nurse anesthetist at Mission Health, is expected to make her first court appearance on Friday afternoon. Her family did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment, and authorities confirmed Friday that they are in the process of interviewing family for a motive.
In a March 18 Facebook post, Madden “introduced” her daughter to friends with three photos from the hospital.
“We are both doing well and getting ready to come home today!,” she wrote in her first and only post about the infant, which included her second child’s birth weight and time. Madden’s other daughter, 2-year-old Treya, was also the subject of a similar post after she was born.
Court records indicate Madden has two public defense lawyers from both Asheville and Henderson County representing her, but their names were not immediately known.