Katlyn Lauren Edwards, 20, allegedly left her husband to be with her father, James Travis Brown, 38, an investigator tells PEOPLE

By KC Baker and Diane Herbst
October 30, 2018 12:52 PM
Credit: Laurens County Sheriff’s Office

A South Carolina woman facing an incest charge allegedly left her husband to have a romantic relationship with her father, an investigator on the case tells PEOPLE.

Katlyn Lauren Edwards, 20, was arrested Oct. 22 after giving birth to a baby authorities believe she had with her father, James Travis Brown, 38, the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office has said. The child died shortly after birth, possibly of complications related to what authorities say was a “consensual and mutual relationship,” according to a sheriff’s office release.

Michael Polson, an investigator with the sheriff’s office, tells PEOPLE that Edwards “left her husband to be with him.”

According to Polson, Edwards at one point alleged she’d been sexually abused by her father. But Polson says “there is no evidence of that,” adding, “All evidence points to the relationship. It doesn’t point to abuse. And then she’s admitted it was consensual.”

Brown, says Polson, “admitted [the sexual relationship]. He said he felt that she was in love with him.”

Polson says that during Edwards’ childhood, her father was “in and out of her life.” He adds the two “have a troubled past, but she was 20 years old when she decided to do all this. She wasn’t a child.”

Polson would not elaborate further on what he meant by “troubled past.”

In October 2017, Polson says, Edwards “left her husband. She moved in with her father and then they got pregnant together in January 2018. They continued communicating until July, and then it ended. She started seeing another guy.”

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“She wanted [Brown] to stop and be her daddy,” Polson says. “She wanted [Brown] to be a father figure to her.”

According to Polson, the sheriff’s office has handled incest cases before, but this one is unique.

“It’s usually a victim saying a family member close to them forced sex on them. It’s rare to have one to say, ‘We had consensual sex and we got pregnant,’ ” Polson says.

Polson says the baby’s death certificate says he died from heart failure. After speaking with doctors, investigators believe the circumstances of the child’s birth were related to his death.

“Anytime in an incest situation, sometimes the inside of the body doesn’t work right,” Polson says, citing doctors.

At the time of Edwards’ arrest, her father was in jail in another county on unrelated charges. He will be transferred to the Johnson Detention Center to face the incest charge in Laurens County when he is released. Edwards was released on $1,000 bond and has yet to enter a plea.

PEOPLE’s attempts to reach Edwards were unsuccessful. It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney who can comment on her behalf.