Husband, wife arrested after Nags Heads Police used DNA evidence to break 30-year case

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Posted at 3:12 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-26 17:23:42-04

NAGS HEAD, N.C. - Two people were arrested in connection to the case of a Baby Doe whose remains were found in the trash 30 years ago.

Town of Nags Head police detectives is using DNA evidence to solve the case.

54-year-old Scott Gordon Poole, and his wife, 51-year-old Robin Lynn Byrum, both of Taylorsville, North Carolina, were arrested October 21 by the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office.

They were charged with concealing the birth of a child, a Class I felony. Police say additional charges may be filed.

“These arrests are a result of many years of diligent investigation by our highly-trained and dedicated law enforcement professionals,” said Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon. “While they are responsible for responding to accidents and crimes, they must also defend the innocent. This is a true example of that. The Board and I appreciate their diligence in working to solve this crime.”

On April 4, 1991, officers responded to the 8600 block of East Tides Drive in south Nags Head in reference to human remains found in a trash can rack. When officers arrived they found the body of an infant. They were unable to establish the baby's gender due to decomposition.

Tuesday, News 3 talked with Nags Head Police Chief Phil Webster, who called the arrests a "sense of accomplishment" with the case being cleared.

"We're very happy that we're bring some sense of justice to our Baby Doe," Webster told News 3. "There are a lot of officers who have come before me who had a hand in this case, and before the investigators that finally cracked it. 30 years worth of pulling this thing out, looking at it and trying to evaluate evidence to see if there was anything there that could be used to track down the parents of this baby."

“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 in a previous news release. “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.”

Over the years, police have examined and re-examined evidence. In 2019, they sent Baby Doe’s rib bone to Othram, a private lab for forensic analysis. According to officials, the lab recovered human DNA from the bone and used that hereditary material to conduct a genealogical profile, which led to a family in North Carolina.

In an exclusive interview with News 3, Othram's CEO David Mittelman said he believes the newer kind of DNA testing his lab is doing is becoming more common in cold case investigations.

"There is a huge backlog. A silent mass disaster of cases that just cannot get solved using traditional methods," Mittelman said. "It’s our hope Othram will bring answers to as many of those cases as possible."

Poole and Byrum were booked into custody with bond set at $250,000 for both defendants. They have since been transferred and are now at the Dare County Detention Center.

Catch this News 3 Investigation, including the exclusive interview with Mittelman, Tuesday at 11:00 p.m. on News 3.