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Vehicle accident leads to multi-state investigation

Jaynell Graham

Detectives from the Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff’s Department and the West Virginia State Police – Marlinton Detachment will work together to investigate events surrounding a single vehicle accident.

The accident occurred Sunday near Thornwood, about a mile and a half inside the West Virginia state line.

Law enforcement and rescue personnel responded to the call about 11:20 a.m.

According to State Police Sergeant Herby Barlow, the car, driven by Erica Newsome, of Jacksonville, Florida, left the road, struck the guardrail and came to rest near the yellow line.

What appeared to be a simple accident took a turn toward the bizarre when a couple from New York City, traveling the same highway, reported that they had seen Newsome remove a body from the vehicle and drag it over the hill.

Barlow said the woman and the body of her 11-year-old daughter were found on an old logging road approximately 150 feet over the embankment.

“It was obvious that the eleven-year-old did not die from injuries from the accident,” Barlow said. “Her injuries were non-motor vehicle injuries.”

Newsome was interviewed by West Virginia authorities until 2:30 a.m. Monday, and a search warrant was obtained with regard to the vehicle.

Barlow said his detachment would wait until the Jacksonville detectives arrive before enforcing the warrant.

Senior Trooper D. P. Dillon filed the complaint against Newsome, who was arraigned Monday afternoon in Magistrate Cynthia Broce-Kelley’s court.

The complaint states that Dillon responded to the accident, which was first reported to have two individuals ejected from the vehicle. Dillon stated that EMS workers were with the then unidentified woman and a female child who had been covered with a blanket. EMS workers advised Dillon that the child was deceased.

The woman, who was identified as Erica Newsome, asked to speak with the police and stated that she had killed her daughter and was abusive to her.

Dillon obtained statements from witnesses on the scene who had observed the adult female driver exit the vehicle with a juvenile wrapped in a blanket and take it over the hill. The coroner arrived, and upon observation, stated that the juvenile had been deceased for at least 24 hours.

Dillon obtained a digitally recorded post Miranda statement in which Newsome stated that she had picked her daughter, Kaye-lea Plummer, up from her bed and put her in her truck on Friday, August 4, and Kaye-lea did not move, eat, drink, speak or use the restroom for two days – the time span of the drive from Jacksonville, Florida to the scene of the accident.

Newsome was charged with concealment of a deceased human body.

She is being held in the Southern Regional Jail. Cash bond was set at $50,000.

“It is still a very active investigation,” Barlow said.

Newsome told the authorities that the child’s father lived in Buffalo, New York, and that was where she planned to go.

Newsome was having issues with her vehicle and said she did not want to travel on interstates, and that is how she ended up in Thornwood, Barlow said.

“If she hadn’t been discovered [by the couple] I wouldn’t have known about the child,” Barlow added. “She had not been reported missing.

“If she [Newsome] had been with the vehicle, it would have been a different story. We would have treated it like any vehicle accident and called a wrecker.”

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