Breanna Lewis, 19, is charged with filing a false police report after police allege she admitted to fabricating the story about her baby, Harlee Lane Lewis

By Michelle Boudin
May 30, 2018 11:50 AM
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Credit: SC Law Enforcement Division

A South Carolina mom who claimed her baby daughter had been kidnapped by a stranger was arrested hours later when authorities discovered the 11-month-old’s dead body inside a diaper box about a thousand yards from her home.

Breanna Lewis, 19, is charged with filing a false police report after police allege she admitted to fabricating the story about her baby, Harlee Lane Lewis, which prompted an AMBER Alert.

Now, Chesterfield County Sheriff Jay Brooks says Lewis is being questioned in the girl’s death as the primary suspect. Brooks tells PEOPLE there are no obvious signs of trauma on the girl and that police do not know how she died.

“She confessed to say she made up the kidnapping and assault,” Brooks says. “We’re holding her because she’s incoherent, she’s on something. She keeps saying she blacked out and doesn’t know what happened to the baby.”

Breanna Lewis
| Credit: SC Law Enforcement Division

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.Brooks is hoping an autopsy being performed later Wednesday will offer clues about how Harlee Lane died.

A spokesperson for the sheriff’s department tells PEOPLE that around 2 p.m. Tuesday, Lewis told investigators she was walking to her mailbox when a strange man wearing a coat, toboggan hat and black glove got out of his SUV, punched her in the head and left with her daughter.

Investigators issued an AMBER Alert but found the girl’s body after a brief search.

Brooks tells PEOPLE, “Your heart hurts anytime it’s a juvenile. You remember every dead child — you have nightmares, they haunt you. The two deputies that found the body are both parents of young children so it’s really hard.”

State and federal authorities are assisting in the investigation.