Body of missing Texas mom found, 3-week-old daughter found alive, pending DNA testing, police say

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Slain mother Heidi Broussard’s ‘best friend’ allegedly faked pregnancy to steal her newborn

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Police in Texas have found the body of Heidi Elizabeth Broussard, 33, who had been missing since last week. Officials believe they have also found the woman’s newborn daughter alive.

Here are the latest updates:

Update 2:25 p.m EST, Dec. 20: Police have charged Maegen Rose Fieramusca with two counts of kidnapping and a single count of tampering with evidence, a human corpse, in connection with the disappearance and death of Broussard, KTRK reported.

Police said Broussard's body was found in the trunk of a car at a home in Harris County, Texas, according to KTRK.

A baby, officials believe to be Broussard's daughter, Margot Carey, was found alive. Officials are performing DNA testing to confirm the child's identity, KPRC reported.

Original report: Police in Texas are searching for a woman who vanished with her newborn daughter last week after dropping her young son off at school.

Heidi Elizabeth Broussard, 33, and 3-week-old Margot Carey were last seen around 7:50 a.m. Thursday at Cowan Elementary School, Austin police officials reported. They were reported missing about 12 hours later.

"Heidi and Margot are believed to have returned to their residence near West William Cannon (Drive) and South First Street but have not been seen or heard from since," investigators said in a news release.

Brad Herries, a detective with the Austin Police Department's Violent Crimes Unit, told reporters Tuesday that Broussard and the baby are believed to have been at their home in the Club at Summer Valley apartment complex the morning they disappeared, after Broussard took her son to school.

Broussard's fiancé, Shane Carey, told CBS Austin last week that he spoke to her shortly after 8 a.m. the day she disappeared. In an interview with FOX7, Carey said Broussard had accompanied their son, Silas, to a book fair at the school that morning.

"She called me around 8-something, on her way home from the book fair, and said she spent $25," Carey said. "I was, like, 'That's OK,' and I told her I had to go because I was on my way out."

Caption
At left is surveillance footage of Heidi Broussard, 33, shot the morning of Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, at Cowan Elementary School in Austin, Texas, pictured at right in a May 2018 Street View image. Broussard, who was last seen dropping her son off at school that day, and her 3-week-old daughter, Margot Carey, both disappeared sometime later that morning. (Austin Police Department, Google)

At left is surveillance footage of Heidi Broussard, 33, shot the morning of Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, at Cowan Elementary School in Austin, Texas, pictured at right in a May 2018 Street View image. Broussard, who was last seen dropping her son off at school that day, and her 3-week-old daughter, Margot Carey, both disappeared sometime later that morning. (Austin Police Department, Google)
Caption
At left is surveillance footage of Heidi Broussard, 33, shot the morning of Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, at Cowan Elementary School in Austin, Texas, pictured at right in a May 2018 Street View image. Broussard, who was last seen dropping her son off at school that day, and her 3-week-old daughter, Margot Carey, both disappeared sometime later that morning. (Austin Police Department, Google)

Carey said he told Broussard he loved her and said goodbye, then went back to work. His Facebook profile indicates he works as a sales consultant at a local Toyota dealership.

He said he worked until early afternoon and went home around 2 p.m. to find his fiancée and their daughter missing.

He said he initially thought she was visiting a friend in the complex but started to worry when their son’s school called him to say Broussard had not picked the boy up at the end of the day.

A tearful Carey said he called his father, who urged him not to worry, along with several of Broussard’s friends, who had not seen or heard from her. He reported her missing around 7 p.m. that night.

Caption
Pictured in a May 2018 Street View image is the Austin, Texas, apartment complex where Heidi Broussard, 33, lives with her fiancé and their children. Broussard and the couple’s 3-week-old daughter, Margot Carey, vanished the morning of Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. (Google)

Pictured in a May 2018 Street View image is the Austin, Texas, apartment complex where Heidi Broussard, 33, lives with her fiancé and their children. Broussard and the couple’s 3-week-old daughter, Margot Carey, vanished the morning of Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. (Google)
Caption
Pictured in a May 2018 Street View image is the Austin, Texas, apartment complex where Heidi Broussard, 33, lives with her fiancé and their children. Broussard and the couple’s 3-week-old daughter, Margot Carey, vanished the morning of Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. (Google)

“Ever since then, it’s just been trying to reach out,” Carey said as his father stood next to him, rubbing a supportive hand across his son’s shoulder and back. “Just help. I don’t know.

“She’s a great mom. She needs to be back.”

Though her cellphone was missing, everything else, including Broussard's white Honda Fit and Margot's car seat, remained at their apartment, Carey said. CBS Austin reported that the vehicle still sat in the parking lot of the complex Tuesday.

Melanie Barden, a reporter with the CBS affiliate, said a grocery list was visible on the car’s dashboard.

“If you see an awesome mom with a baby walking around or in a suspicious van or car or anything, please just somebody call,” a tearful Carey pleaded with the public last week.

Herries said the case has been nonstop since the first patrol officers at the couple's apartment called in detectives.

“Since that moment, we have been working this case continually,” Herries said.

The FBI sent in its Child Abduction Response Deployment, or CARD, team, Herries said Tuesday. The Texas Rangers and other state agencies are also involved in the case.

Investigators were still uncertain Tuesday if Broussard left with the infant on her own or if foul play was involved, the detective said. Carey told local news media there was no sign of a struggle at their apartment.

Broussard’s wallet and purse were inside her car and Margot’s diaper bag was in the apartment, Carey said.

Watch Shane Carey’s interview with FOX7 below.

When a reporter questioned whether the CARD team’s involvement indicated that Broussard may have abducted her daughter, Herries said the name of the unit is “not an implication of the direction or thoughts of this investigation.”

"The introduction of the FBI into the investigation is to help us," Herries said. "We're asking for any help that we can get. The FBI is being very gracious and helping us out with that specialized unit."

Herries said investigators are working around the clock to follow leads and tips received from the public. The detective declined to comment on whether Carey is a target of the investigation.

According to "Inside Edition," Carey addressed the public scrutiny surrounding him in the case.

"I know it's a question. I don't know how to … I just ignore it. I know it's not true," he said, according to the news show.

Herries also declined Tuesday to answer reporters’ questions regarding any previous police calls to the couple’s home or domestic violence incidents, citing the ongoing investigation.

"This case is unique in that we don't have a person of interest right now," Herries said. "We are exploring every avenue that we have and every possibility.

“To be perfectly honest, anything is possible at this point. We are working down every angle to try and exclude possibilities and narrow that down to locate Margot and Heidi. And that’s why we need the public’s help.”

Broussard's parents, David and Tammy Broussard, traveled from their home in Lake Charles, Louisiana, last week to help search for their daughter, who they told CBS Austin would never have left her son. The couple believes there is foul play involved in the case.

"Heidi wouldn't do this. There's no way," Tammy Broussard told the news station Tuesday outside her daughter's apartment complex. FBI agents could be seen knocking on doors in the background of the video.

“She loves her son, Silas, and she would never do this,” Tammy Broussard continued. “She would never take Margot down those stairs without her carrier and have her strapped in and her diaper bag strapped to her back.”

Watch Tammy and David Broussard talk to CBS Austin about the disappearance of their daughter and granddaughter below.

David Broussard agreed that his daughter would not have left of her own accord.

"You can't make me believe that in 1,000 years," he told the news station.

Carey told KVUE he doesn’t know anyone who would want to harm Broussard.

"She is an amazing person," Carey said. "She has amazing support, friends behind her. She's so personable -- one of the best people I've ever met, so kind, and she does anything for her kids -- one of the best moms."

He urged whoever might have abducted Broussard and the baby to bring them home safe. He also begged them to feed the baby.

"Just find a way. You won't be in trouble. Just drop her off," he pleaded. "She has a beautiful family."

Broussard is described as a white woman who is 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds. She has dark hair with highlights and blue eyes.

At Margot’s last pediatrician’s appointment, she weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 22 inches long.

"We are still looking for them in a search-and-recovery manner," Herries told reporters. "Our assumption is that they are alive, and the sooner that we can find them, the better."

The detective urged the public to continue offering any tips they might have, but asked that they call those tips in to the Austin Police Department. He said many people are offering information on social media, but it is difficult for investigators to keep up with the online tips.

The number through which to call in tips is 512-974-5250.

Tammy Broussard told the CBS affiliate she and her husband have not given up hope of finding their daughter and granddaughter safe.

“We won’t give up hope, we won’t let go, because we do believe they’re coming home,” she said.

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