Joshua Holford

Assistant Solicitor Joshua Holford delivers his opening statement Wednesday during Alyssa Dayvault's trial.

Prosecutors charged Alyssa Dayvault with “extreme indifference to human life.”

“That’s what this case is about,” Assistant Solicitor Joshua Holford said in his opening statement during Dayvault’s trial, which began this week in spite of her absence.

Dayvault is accused of killing two newborn babies she gave birth to and putting them both in the trash.

Police said she admitted to giving birth twice in North Myrtle Beach — once in 2017 and again in 2018 — to babies who took multiple breaths and then putting them in the trash.

Authorities charged her with two counts of homicide by child abuse and destruction, desecration or removal of human remains.

This isn’t a murder trial, Holford said Wednesday. The state does not have enough evidence to prove she intentionally killed her babies.

“This case is about neglect,” he said.

Holford said Dayvault was pregnant with a baby girl in 2017. At the time, she had a stable relationship with her boyfriend and two kids, he added, yet she hid her pregnancy from everyone.

She eventually gave birth alone in her home with no assistance from a midwife and without a doctor present. Her mother and boyfriend also weren’t there for the birth.

“She does it on her own,” Holford said.

Dayvault did not drop the newborn off at a fire station, give the baby up for adoption or ask her mother to care for her child.

As a result of her neglect and her refusal to take the necessary steps when giving birth to a baby, Dayvault placed the infant in a trash bag and threw it out with the trash, Holford said.

“At this point, she got away with it,” he said. “No one would have known.”

“She was successful in hiding it,” he continued. “She sought no care.”

The same thing happened 13 months later in December 2018, Holford said, when she gave birth to a baby boy.

She again hid her pregnancy from those close to her including the man who was still her boyfriend (the baby boy’s father) and her mother, once more declining medical treatment.

Dayvault again didn’t leave the baby somewhere like a firehouse or give it up for adoption.

Holford said Dayvault gave birth on the bathroom floor instead of doing so at a hospital.

In 2018, however, Dayvault saw a doctor a few days after the birth. That’s when she ended up delivering a full-term placenta, which is always attached to a baby, Holford said.

Police were called and, during an interview with law enforcement, Dayvault denied having given birth.

Later, however, Dayvault confessed to having given birth to a baby boy, putting him in the trash and placing it in the dumpster.

Police investigated and found out she did not put the trash bag in the dump.

She admitted to placing him in a garbage bag she put inside a trash bin next to her North Strand home. The baby had been born alive and gasped for breath, Holford said.

He added it’s a small miracle the bin wasn’t wheeled out to the street in time. Investigators found the baby boy in a trash bag within it.

“That’s how we know,” Holford said of Dayvault’s alleged crimes. “That’s how we found out what she did. ... A baby boy in 2018 and a baby girl in 2017 lost their lives because of the direct actions and the consequences that the defendant [Dayvault] knew would result from her actions: the deaths of those two [babies].”

Dayvault’s attorney Sharde Crawford said her client gave birth “unexpectedly” both times at home. The state’s homicide charges are based on their theory of what occurred, she added.

“But it’s just that,” Crawford said. “It’s a theory.”

Crawford told the jury over the next few days, the state will present evidence that will make them uncomfortable and likely emotional.

In order to establish homicide by child abuse happened, prosecutors must show two things, Crawford said.

One is that Dayvault caused the death of a child under the age of 11 while committing abuse or neglect. The other is that death occurred under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life.

She asked the jury to pay close attention to what the state alleges caused the deaths of both children and ask themselves what evidence the state has shown that will prove the cause of death.

The state bears the burden of proof, meaning they must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, Crawford said, and she requested that the jury listen carefully, think critically and set aside their emotions as they reach a verdict.

The trial continued Wednesday. Check back for updates.


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