Police say that 37-year-old Erica Newsome drove from her Florida home to West Virginia for two days with her dead daughter in the car beside her.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Florida woman drives for two days with her dead daughter in truck before hitting a guard rail in West Virginia. <a href="https://t.co/nvItjCotU3">https://t.co/nvItjCotU3</a></p>— NBC Bay Area (@nbcbayarea) <a href="https://twitter.com/nbcbayarea/status/895194452712710144">August 9, 2017</a></blockquote>
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According to West Virginia State Police Sergeant Herby Barlow, the car which was driven by Erica Newsome, of Jacksonville, Florida, left the road along the highway and struck the guardrail before it eventually came to a stop near the yellow line.
Witnesses who were traveling the same highway first stopped to check and see if the driver was okay, but then saw a scene of terror when they say they witnessed Newsome remove a body from the vehicle and drag it over the hill.
Sergeant Barlow said the woman and the body of her 11-year-old daughter were found on an old logging road which runs parallel to the highway approximately 150 feet over the embankment.
“It was obvious that the eleven-year-old did not die from injuries from the accident,” Barlow said. “Her injuries were non-motor vehicle injuries.”
Law enforcement says that Detectives from the Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff’s Department, and the West Virginia State Police, as well as Marlinton Detachment, will work together cooperatively in order to investigate the events surrounding the single vehicle accident.
The accident occurred near Thornwood, West Virginia, which is about a mile and a half inside the West Virginia state line.
Law enforcement and rescue personnel say that they responded to an emergency call at about 11:20 AM and were absolutely shocked when they arrived. It was clear the child had been dead for quite some time.
“At this time, foul play is suspected in the child's death and we believe the death occurred in Jacksonville, Florida," the Sheriff's Office stated.
Newsome was taken into custody and jailed on $50,000 bond while investigators search for evidence in Florida that could show whether or not this was a murder or help explain what occurred to end the child's life.
The young girl's father, Donath Plummer, told local media in Jacksonville that Newsome had sent him a text message on Saturday morning saying that she was bringing their daughter to Buffalo to see him.
Plummer said the couple married in early 2007 and had been separated two years later since 2009. He also said he hadn't seen his daughter since Newsome moved with Kaye-lea to Jacksonville back in 2014, but he would regularly check on his daughter by phone.
"We didn't always agree on everything, but she was a great mother. I don't know how this could have happened," Plummer said. "Something is very, very wrong. She needs help. She really needs help."
Law enforcement will continue to investigate as to what actually happened to the 11-year-old child and try and see if Newsome is willing to talk, after a potential psychiatric evaluation.