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PORTSMOUTH, Ohio -- Investigators said the badly-mauled body of a newborn infant was found Tuesday afternoon on the banks of the Ohio River. The next day, the baby's 21-year-old mother was arrested after admitting to a hidden pregnancy.

The mother told investigators that the baby was stillborn at home. She said she panicked and disposed of the baby boy a few miles from her home, WCMH-TV in Columbus reported.

The investigation began after authorities received a 911 call from a frantic mother.

Dispatcher: "911, what's your emergency?"

Caller: "My kids were just outside, telling me that the dog was chewing on something dead. And I walked out there to see what it was. It's a baby."

The baby was found in the yard of a Scioto County home. The resident, Steve Stiltner, found the dead newborn surrounded by dogs.

"It had a leaf over its face and she had realized when she walked around that it was a human baby," Stiltner said.

Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini speculated that the baby had been eaten by dogs.

"Our coroner at the scene wouldn't even commit to the race, sex or age of the child," he said.

The body was sent to the Montgomery County coroner's office in Dayton for an autopsy. The autopsy revealed Wednesday that the baby was stillborn.

"It's unfortunate that the baby was still-born, but in some ways I'm thankful that that did occur, especially the way the body was disposed of and what happened afterwards," Donini said.

Numerous tips led the sheriff to arrest the baby's mother, Sarah Halcomb. She was charged with a felony count of gross abuse of a corpse.

Officials said Halcomb confessed and took detectives to the site where she had disposed of the infant.

"She panicked, hid the baby inside the house, then a couple of days later, removed the baby and disposed of the baby," Donini said.

The scene continues to disturb Stiltner and his children.

"I don't want to live here anymore. I can't walk down my porch without looking over here and I still see that baby laying here every time I look down," Stiltner said.

Halcomb also had bench warrants out for her arrest on eight other charges, including forgery, theft, and receiving stolen property.
 
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