Prosecutors seek death penalty in child's death

STAFF WRITERNovember 12, 2009 

— Harnett County prosecutors announced in court this week that they are seeking the death penalty against a mother charged with the 2007 death of her 11-month-old child.

Prosecutors Davis Weddle and Teresa Postell announced that they would seek the death penalty against Johni Michelle Heuser on Tuesday in Harnett County Superior Court in Lillington.

The prosecutors told Superior Court Judge Frank Lanier that Heuser should receive the death penalty if she is convicted of first degree murder because the killing of her daughter "was especially heinous, atrocious and cruel," Weddle said this morning.

Police found Harmony Jade Creech's remains Oct. 20, 2007. The child's body had been stuffed in a diaper box and hidden in her mother's attic, authorities reported.

Heuser had first reported the child missing Oct. 19, the same day the child's father, Ronald Earl Creech II, returned home from a 15-month deployment in Iraq.

A statewide Amber Alert was issued soon after the child was thought to have been abducted. The alert was cancelled the next day after Harnett sheriff's deputies arrested Heuser and charged her with first degree murder.

Investigators found the child's body after a second search of the home -- in a Pampers box, jammed in a back corner of the attic and reachable only with a golf club, authorities reported.

Heuser remains in custody at the Harnett County jail without benefit of bail, a jail spokesman said this morning.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for January, Weddle said.

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