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UNIDENTIFIED

Parents arrested in case of baby dumped in trash can decades ago

Posted on October 26, 2021

Updated on November 1, 2021

Local newsUnidentified
Scott Gordon Poole, 54, and Robin Lynn Byrum, 51, were charged with felony concealing the birth of a child after a DNA analysis identified the remains of their infant son. The baby's body was found under a trash can in April 1991.

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Scott Gordon Poole, 54, and Robin Lynn Byrum, 51, were charged with felony concealing the birth of a child after a DNA analysis identified the remains of their infant son. The baby's body was found under a trash can in April 1991.

Unidentified is a weekly series examining the more than 120 cases of unidentified human remains discovered in North Carolina. News Editor Lindell J. Kay produces each installment for The Enterprise of Spring Hope and other Restoration NewsMedia newspapers.

Click here to read previous installments in the series, along with case updates and additional resources, on Kay's Unidentified blog.

lkay@springhopeenterprise.com | 252-265-8117

A baby boy beaten in the face, smothered to death and dumped in a trash can more than three decades ago has been identified, and his parents face charges in connection to the case.

The child died by blunt force trauma to the face and asphyxiation, according to the Pitt County Medical Examiner’s Office in Greenville.

Scott Gordon Poole, 54, and Robin Lynn Byrum, 51, face a felony charge of concealing the birth of a child. More charges could follow as the investigation unfolds, Nags Head Police Chief Phil Webster said in a press release.

“The tragedy of this child’s death and the manner in which his body was disposed of is compounded by the fact that, until now, no one has been found responsible for this incredibly heartbreaking act,” Webster said. “But, through the hard work of Nags Head Police investigators and our law enforcement partners in the case, those who did this will be held accountable for a death that has remained unsolved for three decades.”

Detectives used DNA evidence to identify the newborn, whose mummified remains were found under a trash can on East Tides Drive on April 4, 1991.

Detectives sent one of the baby’s ribs to a private lab in Texas that conducts forensic analysis. The lab recovered DNA from the bone and used the material to create a genealogical profile, which led detectives to Poole and Byrum, Webster said.

“Further investigation and DNA analysis by Nags Head police led to a married couple living in Taylorsville, North Carolina. They were subsequently confirmed as the parents of the baby,” said Michael Vogen, director of case management at Othram, the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence.

The baby is believed to have been dumped six to 10 weeks prior to his discovery, according to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.

Medical examiners were initially unable to determine the baby’s gender due to severe decomposition. The DNA test revealed the baby’s gender and confirmed Poole and Byrum, who are married, as the parents.

Poole and Byrum lived in Taylorsville at the time of their arrest last week. The Alexander County town is 360 miles from Nags Head, an Outer Banks beach town in Dare County.

The couple lived in Nags Head in 1991, Webster said.

Poole was 24 in 1991; Byrum was 21.

They were each jailed under a $250,000 secured bond.

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