Saturday, October 20

The Tragic Disappearance of Harmony Jude Creech

Update: 10.21.07

Johni Michelle Heuser has been arrested and charged with first degree murder in reference to Harmony's death. She is currently being held without bond, and her other three children, all under the age of 5, are in foster care.

"She has been telling us a lot of lies for a long time," Sheriff Rollins said of Heuser. "It finally, through some good interview techniques, brought the truth out."

I will post more as the story continues.


Ronald Earl Creech II is a soldier with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg. While he was overseas, his wife gave birth to a daughter, Harmony Jude Creech. Ronald was to see his baby girl for the first time on Friday, Oct. 19 when he returned from a 15-month deployment in Iraq.

Harmony's grandmother picked Ronald up from the airport Friday morning, and when they returned, Harmony was gone. It appeared that Harmony Jude Creech just vanished from her home at 1680 Ray Rd, Spring Lake, NC after her mother, Johni Michelle Heuser, put her down to sleep. A pink sheet, a handful of bibs and nearly all of the child's clothes were also missing.

A window in Harmony's bedroom was open, and the screen was propped against the house outside. The girl was last seen wearing pink footie pajamas with "Daddy's Girl" written on one arm. News releases said she weighs 18 pounds, and is 2 feet, 7 inches tall.

The disappearance of 11-month-old Harmony sparked an Amber Alert that aired on websites like MySpace and on television stations airing football games. An FBI team of child abduction specialists joined local police officers in hunting for Harmony, and the girl's picture and story were found in local news stations' top stories. Tonight, the girl's story is still at the top of the headlines, but for another reason. One day after Harmony Jude Creech was reported missing, she was tragically found.

While speaking with investigators, police said, Heuser told them she found Harmony dead in her crib several weeks ago, and hid Harmony's death out of fear. The remains of the girl were found in the attic of the house she lived in for 11 months.

Neighbors have said a foul smell has bothered them for several weeks, which subsided recently when overnight temperatures dropped. Some neighbors, reacting to the smell, had even searched their yards for dead animals. These same neighbors described Heuser as secretive and private, as someone who rarely left home.

Heuser is still being interviewed and the investigation is still active. Charges against Heuser have not been determined, and an autopsy will be performed on Harmony to determine her cause of death.

"It's a tragic end to a sad situation for this family and for the community as well," Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins said.

I'd like to know what the grandparents and/or the other children (all under five years old) know. More pragmatically, I want to know why the grandparents didn't suspect anything, or if they knew anything, why they didn't come forward.

I'm interested to see the charges filed in this case.

I will update this blog as more information becomes available.

Sources: "Leads scarce in search for missing baby," News and Observer, Oct. 20; "Missing Harnett County Baby Found Dead in Attic,", Oct. 20; "Body of missing baby found in her home," News and Observer, Oct. 20

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