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Mother charged after infant found in duffel bag in Danville

Arrest is in connection with 2016 case

DANVILLE, Va. – According to a criminal complaint, Vanessa Poteat, 25, confessed to drowning her newborn son.

She was behind bars Tuesday with no bond, charged with first-degree murder.

Danville police announced the arrest Tuesday.

Investigator Steve Richardson said the boy is believed to have only been about a day old when he was killed.

The boy's body was found in a duffel bag inside 53 Schoolfield Drive in June 2016, but Richardson said he is believed to have actually been killed in 2013 or 2014.

"Investigators have made multiple interviews with people associated with the suspect, interviewing and re-interviewing the suspect until the evidence came out consistent with the crime of first-degree murder," Richardson said.

Richardson didn't want to speculate Tuesday about Poteat's motive or what made her decide to confess.

He said investigators believe she concealed both the child's birth and death.

"Our belief is that the child had not always been in one spot, the remains had not always been in one spot," Richardson said. "Everyone has been cooperative associated with her throughout this investigation. We don't believe there was any help in concealing the crime."

According to the search warrant for the Schoolfield Drive home, the home belonged to the mother of Poteat's boyfriend.

On the day the body was found, the warrant says Poteat asked her boyfriend to get a duffel bag and some other items from the home and that's when the body was discovered.

At the time, next door neighbor Richard Chandler called the discovery shocking and said he didn't know much about his neighbors.

"I thought they were kind of shy because I went to speak to them one time but they turned and walked away," Chandler said.

Richardson said this has been a troubling case for investigators and they are glad that an arrest has finally been made.

Investigators are not looking for any additional suspects, but are continuing to investigate.


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