• The remains of a newborn were found in a Tennessee storage unit after the unit was auctioned in November
  • The newborn's cause of death has yet to be determined
  • Authorities believe the suspect gave birth to the baby at her home in 1994 and soon after rented a storage unit to hide the remains

A 62-year-old woman in Tennessee has been charged after a newborn baby's remains were found last week in a storage unit she rented for nearly 30 years.

Melissa Sims McCann, of Tullahoma, Tennessee, was charged with two counts of abuse of a corpse, Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott said in a press release.

Officers with the Tullahoma Police Department received a report on Nov. 13 of unidentified remains being found in a storage unit at Watts N Storage on 1004 Old Estill Springs Road in Tullahoma. The unit had recently been auctioned.

The prosecutor told the Chattanooga Times Free Press last week that the unit only contained a cooler, inside of which the remains were found.

Police initially could not determine if the remains were human and sent the remains to the medical examiner's office, which later confirmed that they belonged to a human newborn.

Detectives checked the storage company's records and found that McCann had rented the unit continuously since March 1994. She was in her mid-30s at the time.

“Officers with the Tullahoma Police Department discovered that she rented the unit for the sole purpose of storing the remains of her full-term newborn baby, which she delivered at home a few days prior to renting the unit,” Northcott said in the statement.

The cause of death of the newborn has yet to be determined, the Times Free Press reported. The autopsy report could take months due to a case backlog, according to Northcott.

The district attorney told the newspaper that this case was “the first one of this nature that I have handled personally.”

McCann was arraigned on charges of abuse of a corpse Friday in Coffee County Circuit Court, Fox 13 Memphis reported. Northcott told Inside Edition Digital that McCann did not have an attorney representing her.

“Ms. McCann appeared in court today for arraignment at her request it was considered for her to retain counsel,” Northcott said. “She will appear in court at a future date for arraignment.”

He said she could face between one to six years in prison if convicted of both charges.

In his statement on Facebook, Northcott described the case as “heartbreaking,” adding, “I hope we can give this baby a little bit of a voice.”

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