Wednesday, August 1 - Questions Remain In Mysterious Fetus Case
OCEAN CITY - There are more questions than answers today as the bizarre case of a local woman charged with murder for somehow causing the stillborn birth of her infant, followed by the discovery of the remains of three more fetuses in and around her Ocean City home, continues to unravel.
After two days of intense investigation and a national media blitz, during which new details emerged almost hourly, it is decidedly calm around the crime scene on Sunset Drive in Ocean City today. Much is still going on behind the scenes and perhaps the most significant details in the case are yet to come, but for the moment, the swirling events of the last three days have paused, albeit briefly.
The next significant breakthrough in the case will be the state medical examiner's report on the three fetuses discovered in and around the home of Christy Freeman, 37, of Ocean City, after the initial discovery of the fetus she had just birthed stillborn early last Thursday morning. Freeman was taken to a hospital last Thursday after her longtime boyfriend, Ray Godman, found her unconscious and bleeding heavily.
Based on the physical evidence, including heavy bleeding, the presence of a placenta and a severed umbilical cord, doctors determined Freeman had just given birth, but there was no baby. Freeman initially denied being pregnant and said she had not had a baby, but later relented and told investigators she had given birth to a stillborn fetus, which she told police she had flushed down the toilet in her Sunset Drive home.
OCPD detectives then obtained a search and seizure warrant for Freeman's residence on Sunset Drive in Ocean City and quickly discovered the fetus's body wrapped in a blanket under the bathroom sink. A further search of the residence turned up the remains of two more deceased babies in plastic garbage bags inside a trunk in Freeman's room. The remains of another fetus was found in a plastic garbage bag inside a recreational vehicle parked in the residence's driveway, bringing the total to four dead babies found in and around Freeman's home.
Based on what Freeman allegedly told police, FBI investigators, working in cooperation with the OCPD, then began a meticulous excavation of a vacant lot adjacent to Freeman's Ocean City home. Freeman's comments to investigators, coupled with the indications by cadaver dogs, led investigators to believe there were more remains buried in the vacant lot.
The excavation continued all day yesterday and into the morning hours today, but no new evidence has been discovered. The crime scene, which has been a circus of national and local media, dozens of investigators from several different law enforcement agencies and hundreds of morbid curiosity-seekers for the last 48 hours or so, was decidedly quiet this morning as the investigation of the vacant lot wound down to a close.
The next significant event in the case will be the release of the medical examiner's report on the remains of the three fetuses found after the initial discovery last Friday. Key issues to be resolved include whether or not the discovered dead babies belonged to Freeman; if Godman was the father of the babies, and if so, what was the extent of his knowledge of the situation; just when the babies were born and how long they had been stored in and around the residence; if they were born alive or stillborn; and whether Freeman caused their deaths intentionally or if they were birthed naturally.
Clearly, investigators believe Freeman somehow caused the stillborn birth of the first child discovered last Friday or the State's Attorney's Office would not have already charged her with first- and second-degree murder and manslaughter. It remains to be seen whether additional charges will be filed against Freeman and the medical examiner's results should go a long way in determining what happens next.
Meanwhile, new information has come to light which complicates the case even further. Sources say Freeman has given two infants, possibly twins, up for adoption recently, which runs counter to the pattern of stillborn or premature births established early in the case with the discovery of four dead fetuses in and around the Freeman home.
While investigators continue to sort out the sordid details, public sentiment about the case has run the full gamut over the last 48 hours or so from shock and disbelief to rage and hate. Many in the community are struggling to come to grips with how the outgoing Freeman, who owns and operates the popular Classic Taxi business in the resort area, could be implicated in the heinous case, but others are expressing their outrage in different ways.
Sometime Monday night or early Tuesday morning, an unidentified suspect or suspects smashed the windows of four Classic Taxi cabs stored at the company's West Ocean City headquarters. There have also been reports of hostile treatment of the company's drivers, who continue to work despite the constantly evolving case.
While the fast and furious pace of the last two or three days has settled down somewhat, new details will likely continue to emerge and will be reported on The Dispatch website as they become available.
Comprehensive coverage of the last week will be provided in Friday's print edition of The Dispatch.