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Woman indicted in death of baby

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By Lisa King

A Lexington woman who was charged with the April 5 murder of her infant daughter has now been indicted by the Shelby County Grand Jury.

Tonya Nicole Brown, 25, was arraigned in Shelby Circuit Court Monday, according to Amanda Snider with the Shelby County Commonwealth Attorney's office.

Brown has been lodged in the Shelby County Detention Center since being transferred here from the Lexington jail after admitting to Lexington Police on April 10 that she had put her baby into a plastic bag and thrown the child into a dumpster in Shelbyville.

According to a Kentucky State Police arrest report, Brown "intentionally caused the death of her newborn daughter by placing her in a plastic bag and dropping her daughter in the garbage."

By the time Brown, who is married, confessed to police what she had done, the baby had been in the trash for four days.

In addition to murder, the indictment also charges Brown with tampering with physical evidence, a Class D felony. According to the indictment, this charge was added when Brown, "believing that an official proceeding may be pending or instituted against her, she destroyed, mutilated, concealed, removed or altered the physical evidence which she believed was about to be produced or used in such official proceeding, with the intent to impair its verity or availability in the official proceeding."

In short, one incurs this charge when he or she tries to cover up a crime by getting rid of the evidence.

In this case, the "physical evidence" was the baby.

Early on in the murder investigation, KSP put out a press release asking for the public's help in locating a possible witness in the case. The witness was a woman who had been taped April 6 by a surveillance camera located inside the White Castle Chevron gas station near Exit 35 on I-64.

It is not known whether that witness is still being sought by the state police as detectives have not returned calls from the Sentinel-News at the time the newspaper went to press.

Brown remains at the local detention center. Her bond is $70,000 full cash plus a $360,000 property bond, according to jail officials.

She is scheduled to return to Shelby County Circuit Court on July 15.