Tennessee Woman Arrested After Skeletal Remains of Newborn Baby Were Found in Storage Unit 27 Years Later

Melissa Simms McCann, 62, arrested in abuse of corpse; stock image of a self storage unit.
Coffee County Circuit Court/Getty Images

According to the district attorney’s office, Melissa Sims had rented the same storage unit since March of 1994. She was in her mid-30s at the time.

Tennessee woman has been indicted for hiding the remains of her newborn in a cooler in a storage unit she had rented for the past 27 years, authorities said.

The skeletal remains were only discovered in November when the storage unit was being auctioned off, officials said, according to Fox13 Memphis.

Melissa Sims McCann of Tullahoma, Tenn. was arrested on two counts of abuse of a corpse on Dec. 10, according to Craig Northcott, district attorney for Tennessee’s 14th Judicial District. 

On Friday, McCann appeared in court in connection with the charges in Coffee County Circuit Court. Northcott told Inside Edition Digital that McAnn did not have an attorney representing her.

“Ms. McCann appeared in court today for arraignment at her request it was considered for her to retain counsel,” Northcott said. “She will appear in court at a future date for arraignment.”

He said the abuse of a corpse is a “class E felony. If she is convicted, she could face between one to six years in prison.”

According to the officials, the grim discovery was made on November 13, when Tullahoma police officers were called to Watts N Storage at 1004 Old Estill Springs Road in Tullahoma about unidentified remains found in a storage unit, Northcott said in a statement.

Upon inspection of the remains, the medical examiner confirmed that they were those of a human newborn.

According to the district attorney’s office, Sims had rented the same storage unit since March of 1994. She was in her mid-30s at the time.

“Officers with the Tullahoma Police Department discovered that she [Sims] had rented the storage unit for the sole purpose of storing the remains of her full-term newborn baby, which she delivered at home, a few days prior to renting the unit,” the district attorney said. 

The baby’s cause of death has not been determined and could take months to complete, the Times Free Press reported.

Northcott called the case "heartbreaking," on his Facebook, the day Sims was taken into custody.

“I hope we can give this baby a little bit of a voice,” he wrote.


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