Mother charged in infant death

Dec. 10, 2012 @ 05:40 PM

A High Point woman in October was charged with murder in the death of her infant daughter.
Ryann Zarembka Edwards, 23, of Old Mill Road, was charged with first-degree murder on Oct. 25, according to police and court records. In an arrest warrant, detectives accuse Edwards of killing her 7-week-old daughter, Lillian Belle Edwards, on Oct. 17.
High Point police Chief Marty Sumner said the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office made the decision to charge Edwards after prosecutors determined that her negligence allegedly led to Lillian’s death. Authorities suspect that she had an impairing amount of alcohol in her system when she claimed she accidentally smothered her child while asleep. Prosecutors could not be reached for comment.
Edwards was arrested after she allegedly struck her husband, Travis Edwards, with a 2006 Chevrolet Cobalt she was driving on Triangle Lake Road Oct. 25. Records show she was charged with assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury in that case.
Edwards was released from the Guilford County Jail on Dec. 4 after posting a $100,000 bond. Prosecutors agreed to her release on the condition that she report to an inpatient or residential treatment program within 72 hours, not consume any alcohol or drugs and have no contact with her husband, according to court documents.
She could not be reached for comment. Her attorney, Ames Chamberlin, did not return calls. Travis Edwards declined to comment.
In a Facebook posting Oct. 18, Travis Edwards wrote that his daughter died of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, which is the sudden, inexplicable death of a child younger than 1—year—old.
“My wife is very hurt, and so am I... It’s really hard right now,” Edwards wrote.
The autopsy report on Lillian’s death has not been released yet.
Sumner said prosecutors charged Edwards on the basis of the felony murder rule, under which a person can be convicted of first-degree murder if someone dies during the commission of certain felonies, whether the defendant intended to kill the other person or not.
“There were several things that led (prosecutors) to support a murder charge on that, even though it was not direct, assaultive violence,” Sumner said.
Edwards was taken into custody Oct. 25 after police traffic investigators determined that Travis Edwards was walking on the shoulder of the 3300 block of Triangle Lake Road when his wife intentionally drove her car off the road and struck him from behind while traveling an estimated 30 to 40 mph.
Edwards claimed she and her husband were in the car when a deer ran out in front of them and she swerved to avoid it. She stated that her husband got out of the car and that she accidentally struck him while he was attempting to locate the deer. Travis Edwards was taken to a hospital for treatment of several lacerations and a mild fracture of his left leg.