Neighbor “shocked,” prosecutor still has many questions about baby found in cave

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WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- FOX 4 continues to follow a disturbing case involving the discovery of a baby boy found dead in a cave just south of the University of Central Missouri campus. Late last Friday, prosecutors charged 19-year-old Latasha Wilson with abandonment of a corpse. Her friend, 20-year-old Zackary Carter, is charged with tampering with physical evidence.

Investigators told FOX 4 that Wilson admitted she gave birth to a baby boy. After discovering the baby was dead, Wilson told Warrensburg police that she and a friend brought the baby's body to the cave.

Police documents reveal Wilson told police she had the baby in January, and sometime after that, Wilson and 20-year-old Zackary Carter took the body to the cave at Pertle Springs Recreation Park. The park is owned by UCM and Wilson is a student at the university.

Investigators say Wilson lives in Warrensburg with her parents. FOX 4 stopped by their home, but no one seemed to be there. Neighbor Myra Hatfield didn't know Wilson was pregnant and was stunned by the incident.

"I'm shocked and saddened. I think she was frightened. I think she didn't know what to do, it's a bad situation," Hatfield said.

She also said Wilson comes from a good family and offered words of praise about them.

"They're a wonderful family. They're a very united family," Hatfield said. "I haven't really talked to her like I have the other siblings. I see her coming and going."

Right now Wilson faces a charge for abandonment of a corpse.

"There's no excuse. There's so many other things she could've done, you know, and I'm just saddened that she didn't," Hatfield said. “She could've done other things like leave the baby on someone's doorstep, take it to a Burger King, or something."

Prosecutors also charged Carter for tampering with physical evidence. Investigators believe he went back to the cave and tried to burn the body to destroy evidence. Right now, there are still lots of questions Johnson County, Mo. Prosecutor Lynn Stoppy says she cannot answer. Stoppy says Wilson and Carter could face additional charges depending on the results of the baby's autopsy and forensics tests.

"The ages of the young people that are involved in this and just the manner in which it was handled, it's incredibly disturbing," Stoppy said.

Investigators won't confirm if Carter was the baby's father. Wilson claimed she and Carter were just "friends."

"I just hope there was no foul play involved," Hatfield said.

Right now, a UCM spokesman won't say any more about Wilson. She is now out of jail and free on bond. Carter is still in jail and is held on a $4,000 bond, $3,500 for the tampering charge and $500 for failure to appear in court after being accused of running a stop sign.

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5 comments

  • Sickened!

    i think they were both messed up on meth he is a known druggie and i say they were tweaked out, killed the baby, or thought the baby was dead. No one seems concerned that she didnt go to the hospital to have the baby..that should have thrown red flags everywhere.. this is just sick, killed an innocent baby so they could continue they drugs, take to a cave and burn so no one would know now everyone knows the terrieble messed up things you two have, the shame you have put on your families..and whats really sad is the punishment they have gotten so far is like a slap on the wrist while other people have higher bonds and longer jail time for stealing.. killing a baby and pretty much let go.. what is the world coming too..

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