A North Carolina couple are being held on murder charges after a baby was found dead in a trash can in a 30-year-old cold case in Gastonia.
Gastonia police announced Monday that they had arrested Jordan Michael Houston, 39, and Amber Leigh Taylor, 38, after finding the body of 2-month-old Dakota Coltrane on Friday.
Police say the infant was found in a trash can in the Robeson County business district at about 10:25 a.m.
Dakota’s mother and father, Colleen Coltrane and Jordan Houston, were in Gastonia on December 1 to celebrate the birth of their son.
The couple were stopped by a state trooper at the turnpike on December 2, the Gaston Gazette reported. Both were charged with concealing the death of a child.
“The 2-month-old was found in the garbage can, and detectives are treating it as a homicide,” Gastonia Police Chief Robert Skinner said Monday. “It appears the baby was dropped off in the garbage can and then stuffed into a trash can for 30 years.”
The couple is due in court on Tuesday and officials plan to ask a judge to charge them with murder.
The child had bruising to the top of his head, bruises on the sides of his face and numerous bruise marks on his body, police said.
Houston and Taylor are also charged with concealing injuries for allegedly failing to allow authorities to see the baby in the days after he was injured.
The couple was remanded to the Gaston County Jail on a $250,000 bond, which includes $50,000 for two felony counts of concealing the death of a child.
The mystery of the cold case began in December 1984, when Cessa Coltrane gave birth to the infant in Gastonia. Coltrane, who was a teenage runaway, told authorities that she had taken a taxi to a hospital where she gave birth to the baby, according to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
After the hospital call, Coltrane told officials she got a ride to Texas.
But a nurse at the hospital said Cessa Coltrane’s story did not match anything on the medical staff’s records. The hospital said the mother never used a taxi ride to pick up a ride home, although she said she was dropped off at her apartment.
Even after police reopened the case in 2015, there was no sign of the baby.
Hundreds of leads have been followed but no sign of the missing child.
“If you look back 30 years ago, we’re talking about thousands of cases, and there was no answers,” Skinner said. “For us to solve this crime is just shocking and incredible.”
Police said the baby was found in a dumpster on Fifth Street, just steps from a church, and the baby’s car seat, diapers and bottles were missing. Police also found biological evidence in the dumpster indicating the infant was killed in a church, police said.
“My daughter just took a cab from the hospital on December 1 to celebrate the birth of her son,” Elaine Houston told CNN affiliate WRAL. “We had no idea this would happen. We didn’t hear anything out of the ordinary, nothing.”