A father whose estranged wife is accused of dragging their daughter's lifeless body into a wooded area in West Virginia says she's not the woman he remembers marrying.
“Some illness, some sickness that got into her — that’s the only explanation I could think of because Erica didn't do that,” Donath Plummer told WIVB. "That wasn’t the woman I married — that wasn’t the woman I entrusted with my child."
Plummer is the shocked father of now-deceased 11-year-old Kaye-lea Plummer, who police believe died in Jacksonville, Fla., before her mother allegedly drove her corpse five states away to West Virginia.
That's where a couple vacationing from New York told police they spotted her with a blanket-wrapped body on Sunday morning.
Authorities got a call at about 11:20 a.m. from the shocked tourists, which prompted West Virginia State Police to visit the scene near the Virginia border.
Police said they soon found 37-year-old Erica Newsome, along with the body, on an old logging road.
The body was that of Newsome's 11-year-old daughter, Kaye-lea Plummer, police said.
Cops have not released the cause of death but Newsome was arrested on charges of concealing her daughter's remains.
In her Miranda statement, cops say Newsome told them she had picked her daughter up from her bed and put her in her truck on August 4.
Newsome reportedly told cops that Kaye-lea did not move, eat, drink, speak or use the restroom for two days during the drive from their Jacksonville home.
Investigators say it was subsequently determined that the girl died while in Jacksonville.
Newsome was reportedly en route to where the girl's father and Newsome's estranged husband, who lives in Buffalo, N.Y.
Plummer told reporters his wife was texting him over the course of the trip as if everything was okay, in spite of the alleged circumstances and the fact that he hadn't seen his wife or his daughter in years.
Shockingly, Plummer has come to Newsome's defense.
"I knew how much she loved our daughter more than anyone," he said. "I'm even more in shock than anyone else... She basically gave up her working life to be at home with our child. That mugshot that people see is not who she was and I don't want people to see that and judge her."
Newsome is being held at West Virginia’s Southern Regional Jail on a $50,000 cash bond.