Miller Officials Quiet about Woman Charged in Baby's Death

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MILLER COUNTY - Miller County officials refused to answer questions Friday regarding why they waited three years to charge 36-year-old Emily Usnick with second-degree murder in the death of her baby girl. According to the probable cause statements from 2009, Usnick gave birth to the child in her bathroom at home, didn't seek medical attention and the baby died shortly after. The statement said Usnick told authorities she didn't know whether or not the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck.

Boone/Callaway County Medical Examiner Dr. Carl Stacy stated in a 2009 report that the baby had methamphetamine in her blood and liver indicating that the infant was alive in the hours immediately following delivery. Stacy also said the child could have been resusitated after the delivery. Usnick believes the child may "have drowned or suffocated while she was submerged" in the toilet after the birth. Statements said Usnick did not seek medical attention, but instead left the baby in a plastic bag inside a container that she locked in the trunk of her car. In 2009, officials found the baby during a drug raid of the place where Usnick was living. Investigators said they found an active meth lab inthe home. At that time, Usnick faced drug charges.

The Associated Press reported the sheriff's department has said the prosecutor waited to file charges until the state clarified whether Usnick could be charged with more serious charges, including murder. Staff members to Miller County Prosecutor Matt Howard and County Sheriff Bill Abbott told KOMU 8 News that they had no way to reach the two officials when they're not in the office. The woman working the sheriff department's front desk said the sheriff wasn't in because he's the sheriff and can decide when to come into work.

Usnick is being held on $300,000 bond. Neighbors who requested to be anonymous said Usnick and those living with her were strangers to the small town of St. Elizabeth. They said the house she lived in was well hidden by trees and there was often a lot of people coming and going. They said the house has since been repossessed by the bank, fixed up and recently sold to a local school teacher.