x
Breaking News
More () »

Jacksonville mother sentenced to life in prison for 2017 death of her 11-year-old daughter

Erica T. Newsome, 41, was accused in an arrest warrant of strangling and beating her daughter, Kaye–lea Plummer, resulting in the girl's death.
Credit: FTU
Erica T. Newsome

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville mother has been sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to murder in the 2017 death of her 11-year-old daughter whose body was found following a West Virginia car crash.

Erica T. Newsome, 41, was accused in an arrest warrant of strangling and beating her daughter, Kaye–lea Plummer, resulting in the girl's death most likely on Aug. 4, 2017.

Kaye-lea's body was found under a blanket two days later when Newsome's pickup truck hit a guardrail early Aug. 6 on U.S. 250 in Thornwood, W.V. — a mile and a half west of the state line, West Virginia State Police investigators said at the time.

State police said the initial examination showed that Kaye-lea had been deceased prior to the crash.

The investigators also said that a couple who were on the same highway reported seeing Newsome remove a body wrapped in a blanket from the truck and drag it over the hill after the 11:20 a.m. crash, reported The Pocohantas Times newspaper.

Newsome subsequently told police that she had been abusive to her daughter and had killed her. Newsome stated that she had picked Kaye-lea up from her bed and put her in the pickup on Aug. 4, 2017 for a drive to Buffalo, N. Y. to see the girl's father, according to reports  Kaye-lea did not move, eat, drink, speak or use the restroom during the drive that ended with the crash, The Pocohantas Times also reported.

Newsome's cellphone revealed disturbing internet searches before she left on Aug. 4 for Buffalo. The internet research was on "alligator ponds," "fatal bridge accidents in Jacksonville," "people killed on Virginia cliffs" and "Virginia highways that has huge cliffs," the arrest warrant said.

Investigators determined that the girl died in Jacksonville. Newsome was transferred back to Duval County to face charges in the death.

Newsome pleaded guilty to first-degree murder Thursday in the case. Prosecutors dismissed related charges of aggravated child abuse and child neglect, Duval County court records show.

Circuit Judge Adrian G. Soud imposed a life sentence on Newsome, according to the records.

Click here to read more from the Florida Times-Union.

RELATED: Man charged with felony murder in the death of 73-year-old Nassau County dog sitter

RELATED: Dismemberment experiment with knife purchased by Kimberly Kessler lasted just 73 minutes