ERWIN, N.C. (WNCN) — Two Erwin parents are behind bars, accused of murdering their own child and burying the remains on their property.
Neighbors on Moulton Spring Road are said Sunday they shocked and sad after learning what happened.
“How could you do that to a child, especially a child that’s defenseless, that can’t do anything to help themselves?” one neighbor questioned.
“I mean it’s heartbreaking, honestly, I really don’t understand how someone could do that,” another neighbor said.
Police say Dustin VanDyke, 28, and Gracie Riddle, 18, buried their baby in their backyard. The remains were recovered by police on Friday night.
While the exact timeline is unknown, police say the body had been there for months. Neighbors say when they saw police digging in a spot near the edge of the property, they immediately recognized it.
“Because where the child was buried at, there was a lawnmower that sat there for a long time, and it was a nice lawnmower, but it never moved, we just figured something was wrong with it and it was just sitting there,” one neighbor said. “Now, the lawnmower moves in the last month or so, and this child is discovered.”
Now with the couple facing murder charges, nearby residents are just thinking of the life lost, and how close to home it was.
“I have two kids myself, so I could not imagine, it’s just very sad,” one neighbor said.
“I would never expect it to be in my backyard, I mean never, and this is real close to home,” another neighbor said.
Erwin Police Chief Jonathan Johnson said Saturday night that more charges are expected in the case, which is still under investigation.
The two suspects are expected in court on Monday morning.