Mother Accused of Murder Makes Initial Court Appearance
- From: Michael Snyder <msnyder@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2010 17:59:14 -0800 (PST)
DUBUQUE, Iowa - Authorities charged the mother of a missing Dubuque
girl with first-degree murder on Wednesday. Prosecutors believe
Tamelia Harris killed her daughter, 20-month-old Cecilia, and then
burned the body in a fire pit behind her house. Harris made her
initial court appearance this morning in Dubuque.
In July, investigators found human bones in Harris' backyard. They
suspected they were the remains of the girl who had been missing since
June. DNA results show the bones police found in the backyard of the
house are those of Cecilia Harris.
Harris did not speak during Thursday morning's appearance, she sat
silently before a judge via video conference from the Dubuque County
She did not say one word, she nodded yes when the judge asked her if
she understood murder charge she now faces.
Dubuque County prosecutors asked the judge to prohibit contact between
Harris and her children, who would testify at the murder trial, they
had been communicating through letters. The judge banned contact
between Harris and the children until a later hearing.
Harris also showed no reaction when prosecutors discussed her contact
rights with her other children who are in foster care.
Harris had been charged with negligence after allegedly giving
investigators false information about the whereabouts of her daughter.
That charge was dropped.
Harris faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with no parole. She
is being held in Dubuque County Jail on a $750,000 cash only bond.
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