Union County mother charged with murder of newborn baby

A Union County mother is facing charges after her newborn baby was found dead at her home over the weekend. 

Khrystina Marie Rice, 27, was found in her bathroom bleeding extensively around 6:50 a.m. on Sunday. Her husband called 911 and the Bakers Fire Department and Union County EMS responded to the home in the 5900 block of Carolina Manor Court in Indian Trail. 

Rice was still on the floor of the bathroom experiencing significant bleeding when first responders arrived. She did not answer questions about why she was bleeding and paramedics found no cuts or lacerations to her body that would explain the blood. 

A paramedic saw blood in the closet area of the master bedroom and went to investigate. Placenta was found in a trash can and soon after, a newborn infant was found inside of a trash bag, tightly wrapped from head to toe in a blanket. 

Paramedics immediately began performing CPR on the infant and they were able to gain a faint pulse. Rice and the infant were taken to Novant Hospital in Matthews for treatment. The infant survived for several more hours but ultimately died that afternoon. 

Based on the circumstances, the Union County Sheriff's Office was asked to investigate. Following several interviews and an examination of the crime scene, detectives determined that the child was healthy, born at about 7 pounds. They say the preliminary cause of death was asphyxiation, but the baby was also seriously injured, including a skull fracture and rib fractures. 

Rice's husband had no knowledge of the pregnancy and was asleep on the couch when he heard what sounded like someone falling upstairs. 

Detectives believe Rice had intended to conceal the pregnancy and never sought prenatal care. The couple has a 4-year-old son together, and an 8-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. The Sheriff's Office has contacted the Union County Department of Social Services. 

Rice has been charged with first-degree murder and felony child abuse. She is not being held under bond.