Kathyrn Condrey, 36.
MOUNT CARMEL — A Mount Carmel woman whose newborn baby was found deceased in a garbage can earlier this year was charged Thursday with abuse of a corpse, a Class A misdemeanor.
On Monday, a Hawkins County grand jury returned a “no true bill” on a homicide presentment against Kathyrn Condrey, 36, 184 Valley Crest Road, Mount Carmel.
The grand jury opted not to press charges due to the fact that an autopsy couldn’t determine a cause of death or if the infant had been born alive.
Third Judicial District Attorney General Berkeley Bell told the Times-News Thursday he and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation had been focused on a homicide investigation prior to Monday’s grand jury session.
“After the grand jury determination, we felt that the next logical step would be to charge her by warrant with abuse of a corpse,” Bell said. “We were unable to provide sufficient evidence for a murder charge. Abuse of a corpse was not presented to the grand jury because our attention was on the murder, and we didn’t consider it until after the determination was made that we couldn’t support a murder charge.
“We considered that (an abuse of a corpse charge) when we first started the investigation, but then we became focused on the murder case and just dropped it.”
Bell said Condrey admitted that she was the mother of the deceased infant, which was described by Bell as a full-term-birth child.
Tennessee law related to abuse of a corpse states that the charge is applicable if the way the body was treated would be offensive to a reasonable person.
“We’ve had to research that, and it’s taken a few days to make sure the facts fit within the statute,” Bell added.
On April 2, the Mount Carmel Police Department was dispatched to the Condrey residence on Valley Crest Drive in the Hammond Estates subdivision on a complaint of a deceased infant.
According to a MCPD report, on April 1 Kathryn Condrey’s husband, Joseph Condrey Jr., noticed a rolled-up bundle under the deck at the back of the home. Kathryn Condrey reportedly told him it was food scraps and to throw it in the garbage.
Police said Joseph Condrey was separated from his wife at the time but was visiting the residence they formerly shared on Valley Crest Road.
Joseph Condrey became suspicious of the bundle on April 2, so he retrieved it from the garbage and found it to contain a deceased infant.
Kathryn Condrey was arrested by TBI agents Thursday afternoon on the abuse of a corpse charge, after which she was booked into the Hawkins County jail and released on her own recognizance.
She is scheduled for arraignment in Hawkins County Sessions Court on Oct. 29. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 11 months and 29 days in jail.