OCEAN CITY – It has been a wild six weeks for Christy Freeman, who was released from jail yesterday after a first-degree murder charge was dropped by State’s Attorney Joel Todd.
Freeman, an Ocean City business owner, resident and mother of four, went from facing life in prison in late July to a free woman yesterday afternoon after a Grand Jury did not return an indictment because a Maryland Medical Examiner found there was no “life” in the fetus she admitted to letting die in a toilet in 2004.
The following is a timeline of key events over the last six weeks leading up to this morning’s news conference in Snow Hill.
– July 26: Around 1 a.m., Ocean City EMTs and police responded to a 911 call from Freeman’s Sunset Drive residence where she was treated for abdominal pain, vomiting and severe bleeding from her vaginal area. Freeman was transported to Atlantic General Hospital where doctors determined she was pregnant through testing, but she continued to deny every being pregnant.
Freeman was then transported to PRMC in Salisbury where physicians discovered a placenta and a severed umbilical cord, but there was not a fetus in the womb. Freeman continued to deny ever being pregnant, but relented upon questioning by an OCPD detective and told police she had given birth to a stillborn, malformed fetus at her home and had flushed it down the toilet.
– July 27: Armed with a search and seizure warrant for the residence, OCPD detectives discovered the body of a male fetus wrapped in a towel in a cabinet under the bathroom vanity. Upon further investigation, OCPD detectives discovered the remains of two more fetuses wrapped in plastic bags and stored in a trunk in Freeman’s bedroom.
On the afternoon of July 27, detectives obtained a search and seizure warrant for a recreational vehicle parked in the driveway of the residence, and investigators discovered the remains of another fetus wrapped in a plastic bag, bringing the total to four dead fetuses discovered in and around the property.
– July 27-29: Based on the information provided to them by Freeman herself, and the fact cadaver dogs indicated there could be more remains in and around the property, OCPD detectives solicited the help of FBI forensic investigators to help with the excavation of a vacant lot adjacent to the property.
– July 30: FBI forensic investigators working with the OCPD detectives began the tedious process of clearing the vacant lot in preparation of the search for more remains.
On the afternoon of July 30, Freeman appeared in District Court in Ocean City for a bond review dressed in a blue prison jumpsuit with handcuffs and leg irons. Despite Freeman’s pleadings to let her out on bond so she could begin clearing her name, Judge Daniel Mumford ordered her held without bond.
Later that day, a press conference was held at the crime scene during which is was revealed the state medical examiner had determined the first fetus was stillborn and was about 26 weeks old, which made it eligible for murder prosecution under Maryland’s viable fetus statute.
– On Tuesday, July 31, the complicated excavation of the vacant lot continued while more information on the case continued to trickle out.
– By Wednesday morning, Aug. 1, no evidence was discovered at the vacant lot and the FBI pulled up stakes and turned the investigation back over to the OCPD.
By Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 1, the physical investigation in and around the residence was completed and the crime scene was released, meaning Freeman’s longtime boyfriend Ray Godman and their four children were free to move back into their home if they desired.
– Aug. 2: Authorities reveal Freeman in an interview on July 27 confessed she gave birth to twins sometime in 2004 and admitting allowing the first child to die in the toilet. The admission pushed Todd to abruptly drop the first-degree murder charges against Freeman for the stillborn child she had on July 27 and instead filed first-degree murder charges against her for the death of the twin in 2004.
– Aug. 20: A scheduled preliminary hearing in Ocean City District Court was postponed and rescheduled for early October.
While confirming a grand jury heard aspects of the case the week prior, Worcester County State’s Attorney Joel Todd assured The Dispatch no indictment had been handed down as of yet. When asked specifically if there was a sealed indictment pending the result of the Medical Examiner’s report, Todd said there was not. Although the veteran prosecutor was guarded when speaking to a reporter, Todd said, “I have not asked for an indictment [in this case] and therefore no indictment has been issued.”
– Sept. 19: State’s Attorney Joel Todd informs Ocean City District Court Judge Daniel Mumford, who recently worked for Todd as a prosecutor, the charges against Freeman have been dropped as a result of the grand jury refusing to issue an indictment in the Freeman case. Todd said the Maryland Medical Examiner could not find there was “life” in the body of a fetus found in the house in August that dates back to 2004.
Later on Wednesday, Freeman is released from jail but does not stay in her Sunset Drive house. In a conversation with The Dispatch, Freeman expresses excitement about being free and a desire to share her side of the story and clear up the questions surrounding the case. Freeman’s camp hints multiple lawsuits will be followed against authorities as a result of her treatment in this case.
– Sept. 20: Todd holds a morning press conference explaining his decision to not prosecute the case. Freeman’s camp is expected to release a statement after Todd’s press conference.
For a complete recap of the day’s events, see The Dispatch tomorrow.