Three years after sheriff's deputies found a baby dead in the trunk of a car, an Eldon woman is arrested for second degree murder. Emily S. Usnick, 36, was arrested Monday.
Usnick was originally arrested when deputies received an anonymous tip about drug activity at a home on Main Street in St. Elizabeth. The raid of the house led to deputies discovering an infant's body wrapped in plastic and placed in the trunk of a car.
Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Matt Howard alleges that Usnick endangered the child by "giving birth to the child unattended and failing to secure assistance and medical attention," ultimately leading to the baby's death. Usnick is accused of placing the baby's body in a plastic bag, then placing the bag in a plastic container that deputies found in the vehicle.
Howard and Miller County Sheriff Bill Abbott addressed the 3-year time lapse between Usnick's original arrest on drug charges and new charges filed Feb. 6—second degree murder and abandonment of a corpse.
"Howard noted that during the three years since the drug raid where the child's body was discovered that his office had studied the case at length and had also been monitoring developments in Missouri case law which he believes have now clarified the circumstances in which a felony murder charge can be successfully prosecuted," the official press release from Sheriff Bill Abbott's office states.
Usnick is being held in the Miller County jail on a $300,000 bond. She is now a resident of Mexico, Mo., having been released from jail on her initial charges in 2009. She was scheduled to stand trial on charges of endangering the welfare of a child, possession of a controlled substance and manufacturing a controlled substance on May 14, but those charges have been combined with her new charges of second degree murder and abandonment of a corpse. Four other persons were arrested after the drug raid in 2009.