Saturday, October 26, 2013

JBER Soldier Accused Of Dumping Newborn Baby Girl In Eagle River Park, Indicted On One Count Of Second Degree Murder By Anchorage Grand Jury

A U.S. Army soldier assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson made her first court appearance on October 26th, 2013 in Anchorage, Alaska to answer a second-degree murder charge. Twenty-four year old Specialist Ashley Ard is accused of dumping her newborn infant in a park in Eagle River. Since KTUU Channel 2 now hosts embeddable videos once again, here's their story below:

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player Summary: The story began on October 15th, when SPC Ard, who is married, gave birth at home in Eagle River, then allegedly abandoned the baby girl at Turner Park around 1:00 A.M. Around 9:30 A.M. the same day, a passerby was walking a dog when the dog suddenly alerted and discovered the baby's body with the umbilical cord still attached, wrapped in a towel; the dog was immediately pulled away and police were contacted. Police responded and a crime scene team scoured the area before the body was delivered to the medical examiner for an autopsy; the baby was already dead. Temperatures were in the high 40s, so exposure may have precipitated the baby's death. Meanwhile, SPC Ard had placed a call for medical assistance; Anchorage Fire Department paramedics responded and found injuries consistent with someone who had given birth. They immediately informed police of their findings. Since there was no immediate probable cause, SPC Ard was not arrested at the time. But although the autopsy has not yet been completed, initial evidence surfaced showing that the baby was still alive when it was abandoned. Consequently, on October 25th, an Anchorage grand jury indicted SPC Ard on one count of second degree murder (Case No. 3AN-13-11465CR), which can result in an sentence of 10 to 99 years and a fine of up to $500,000 upon conviction. She was arrested on the same day and is currently at the Anchorage Jail on $250,000 bail with a requirement for a third-party custodian ordered by Judge Larry Card. Alaska does have a safe-harbor law which allows mothers to drop off newborns up to 21 days old with police officers, firefighters or emergency medical technicians and at hospitals and fire or police stations without fear of prosecution. It is unknown whether or not SPC Ard was aware of this law; some reports imply she had not sought any pre-natal care. Here's the video of the Anchorage Police Department's 10-minute press conference held on October 26th: SPC Ard originally hails from Portsmouth, VA. According to Army officials, she entered the Army in October 2009 at Fort Jackson, SC. She was assigned to Fort Benning, GA from 2010 through 2013, and reported to Alaska in late September 2013, being assigned to the 2nd Engineer Brigade. SPC Ard also has a 14-month-old daughter, but privacy considerations prevented her from identifying the father, according to an APD spokeswoman. Update October 29th: On this date, SPC Ard pleaded not guilty to second degree murder. She is being represented by Rex Butler, who has a reputation of losing big cases. Ard has no prior criminal history and has never been involved in abusing drugs or alcohol