Krista Noelle Madden, 35, a mother who initially reported that she and her infant daughter had been kidnapped, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder.
A resident found the baby at the bottom of a 75-foot ravine next to a car seat and called for help. This happened about three hours after Madden made the first 911 call claiming she had escaped from masked kidnappers but that the suspects had taken her daughter. Officials now say Madden lied and that there was no evidence that a kidnapping took place.
The baby, whose first name is Shaylie, was taken to a hospital and is reportedly in “very good condition,” according to Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Sheriff: Krista Noelle Madden Called Police on May 9 & Claimed That She & Her Daughter Had Been Kidnapped By Two Suspects Wearing Ski Masks
Henderson County Sheriff Lowell Griffin explained in a news conference on Friday, May 10, that the case involving Krista Noelle Madden began with a phone call to the Asheville Police Department. Madden called 911 around 4:30 p.m. on May 9 claiming that she and her infant daughter had been kidnapped.
The Asheville Police Department reported on social media that Madden described that there had been two kidnappers: “male and female, both of a thin build wearing ski masks. Female described as having black hair and male having red hair.” Madden said that she had managed to escape, but that the kidnappers had gotten away with her 7-week-old daughter in her vehicle.
Detectives were quickly able to ping Madden’s cellphone to a location in Henderson County. That is when they contacted the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department. Officials responded to the area where her phone had pinged and found Madden’s vehicle. Her daughter was not in the car.
2. A Resident Called 911 After Finding Baby Shaylie at the Bottom of a Ravine; His Wife Had Heard the Baby Crying When She Walked Out to the Mailbox
Officials received the tip they had been hoping for at 7:52 p.m. A couple living near Slick Rock Road, which the sheriff described as being in a relatively remote location, had found baby Shaylie at the bottom of a ravine.
Sheriff Lowell Griffin described the couple’s discovery as having happened due to the “grace of God.” He explained that the wife walked out to her mailbox that evening and thought she heard a baby crying. She called her husband outside.
He proceeded to make his way down to the bottom of the ravine near their house. The sheriff said the ravine dropped about 50 to 75 feet down. It was there that he found baby Shaylie. You can listen to the 911 call here. The caller was very emotional and clearly distressed upon finding the baby.
Sheriff Griffin said that investigators believe Shaylie went over the embankment still strapped to her car seat, but that she rolled out of it after reaching the bottom. She was taken ton a hospital and was reportedly doing just fine.
3. Sheriff: There is No Evidence That a Kidnapping Occurred & Madden Has Been Charged With Attempted Murder
Investigators do not believe Madden’s story about being kidnapped by masked suspects, Sheriff Griffin stated during the May 10 news conference. He said there was no evidence to support that claim.
Sheriff Griffin said that investigators had enough probable cause to charge Madden with attempted first-degree murder, but did not provide additional details. Madden was booked into the Henderson County Jail and bond was set at $750,000.
4. Krista Noelle Madden Acted Alone, Detectives Concluded After Speaking With her Husband & Other Family Members
Sheriff Griffin shared in the May 10 news conference that investigators believe Madden acted alone and that she was responsible for Shaylie going over the bank and into the ravine. He explained that officials reached that conclusion after speaking with Madden’s husband and other family members. He did not share details about those specific conversations.
The district attorney also shared in the news conference that Madden would be represented by two defense attorneys: Sean P. Devereux from Asheville and Jason G. Blackwell of Henderson County. He added that he expects the defense to request that Madden be evaluated for post-partum depression.
5. Madden is a Registered Nurse Anesthetist & the Mother of Two Children
Krista Noelle Madden lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband, Jesse. They have been married since 2009. The couple also has an older daughter named Treya Charlotte, who was born in 2016. Madden shared on Facebook on March 18 that Shaylie Quinn Madden had been born two days prior. She wrote at the time that they both were doing well and were ready to come home.
Madden works as a nurse anesthetist, according to her Facebook page. She earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Idaho State University in 2006 and a master’s degree from Westminster College in Salt Lake City in 2013.