Woman allegedly kept newborn baby’s remains in rented freezer for 27 years

Tennessee’s Melissa McCann faces abuse of corpse charge after gruesome discovery at storage company.


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mug shot of a woman
Melissa McCann
(Tullahoma Police Department)

A Tennessee woman has been charged after allegedly storing the remains of her newborn baby in a rented freezer for 27 years.

Melissa Sims McCann, 62, of Tullahoma, was arrested on Friday, a month after the badly decomposed remains were found in a freezer storage unit.

She currently faces two counts of abuse of a corpse, but further charges may be brought as the investigation continues, Coffee County District Attorney Craig Northcott said in a press release.

The macabre case began unraveling on November 13, when local company Watts-N-Storage called the Tullahoma Police Department to report the discovery of unidentified remains in a recently auctioned storage unit, according to the release.

storage units
The newborn’s decomposed remains were found in a freezer storage unit at Watts-N-Storage in Tullahoma (pictured)
(Google Street View)

“Upon inspection of the remains, it was not readily apparent if they were human,” the DA’s statement said. “Upon sending the remains to the medical examiner’s office, they determined that the remains were that of a human newborn.”

According to Northcott, the ensuing police investigation revealed that McCann had rented the freezer storage unit since March 1994 “for the sole purpose of storing the remains of her full-term newborn baby.”

McCann – in her mid-30s at the time – is alleged to have delivered the child at home a few days  before she started renting out the storage unit.

No further information about the case was provided, including the baby’s sex, cause of death and the mother’s motive for allegedly hiding the birth.

“[It’s] heartbreaking but I hope we can give this baby a little bit of a voice,” DA Northcott wrote in a Facebook post last week.

McCann is scheduled to be arraigned in Coffey County Circuit Court on Friday.

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