APB Online

March 7, 2000

Scholarship Student Killed Newborn, Cops Say

Allegedly Suffocated Baby Girl and Put Body in Trash

By Stephanie Kirch
APB Online

SYLVA, N.C. (APBnews.com) -- A college scholarship student, whose church paid some of her tuition, has been indicted on charges of killing her baby after giving birth in a male friend's apartment and then putting the newborn girl's body in a local trash dump.

Christina Marie Fiske, 21, of Franklin was indicted by a Jackson County grand jury Monday on one count of first-degree murder, one count of felony child abuse resulting in injury and one count of concealing the birth of a child.

A Winston-Salem medical examiner who conducted an autopsy on the baby concluded she was born alive and healthy and that her lungs were fully expanded, meaning that she took at least one breath on her own after birth. The medical examiner has ruled that death occurred by asphyxiation caused by deliberate suffocation.

Prosecutors may seek death penalty

Police believe Fiske smothered her 7-pound baby girl and then wrapped the body in a plastic trash bag. A search warrant alleges she then hid the corpse in the trunk of her new car, a 2000 Ford Focus, before throwing it into the dump.

Fiske will learn in a court appearance Thursday whether prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty.

Jackson County Sheriff's Department Detective Linda Sutton said that Fiske was arrested Thursday at an undisclosed location in Sylva, about five miles from the college campus. The arrest came several days after local news media had reported that the body of a newborn girl was found the morning of Feb. 28 in a trash bin by sanitation workers in the Macon County landfill in Franklin.

Co-workers: Didn't know she was pregnant

Fiske, who is from Franklin, is a sophomore at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, with a portion of her tuition paid by a scholarship awarded to her by fellow church members. She worked part time at a Franklin movie theater, where co-workers told detectives they had no idea Fiske had been pregnant.

Sutton said Fiske was "cooperative" when taken into custody and that she is not under a suicide watch at the Jackson County Jail. Bond was denied Friday at her first court appearance.

The detective said investigators believe Fiske gave birth in the Cullowhee apartment of a male acquaintance, but would not say if he was the baby's father. He has either moved out of the apartment, or left the area for spring break, Sutton said. Fiske lived in another unit of the student apartment complex.

No further arrests are expected, Sutton said.

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