Soldier originally from Portsmouth charged with murder in newborn’s death in Alaska

Posted at 4:27 PM, Oct 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-29 00:05:43-04

Anchorage, AK (WTKR) - A U.S. Army Soldier originally from Portsmouth has been indicted for second-degree murder after leaving her newborn daughter under a bush in Alaska.

24-year-old Army Specialist Ashley Ard was taken into custody by Anchorage Police on Friday evening after being indicted by the grand jury on a charge of second-degree murder.

Police say on October 15 they received a 911 call about a baby not breathing from a man walking his dog in Turner Park in the community of Eagle River.

"Our investigation also revealed that Ard went to Turner Park where she left the newborn girl under a bush, wrapped in a towel," explained Sgt. Cindi Stanton, a detective with the Anchorage Police Department during a press conference Saturday.

Later that afternoon, the police department was contacted by medics after Ard called for medical assistance. Police interviewed her after medics found her with injuries consistent with someone who might have given birth.

Anchorage Police say their investigation revealed that Ard had given birth to her newborn daughter at home in Eagle River and then left her in the park, under a bush and wrapped in a towel, just after 1:00am on Tuesday, October 15.

"We have information to believe that the child was indeed alive and the grand jury needed to find that the baby was alive before they were able to charge the murder," explained Stanton.

Ard is expected to be arraigned in Anchorage Superior Court on Tuesday. If convicted, she faces up to 99-years in prison.

She had not been in Alaska long at the time of the infant's death - Ard had only reported to U.S. Army Alaska in late September. She is originally from Portsmouth.