Woman found with daughter’s body in 2017 pleads guilty to murder

Jacksonville woman arrested after crash in West Virginia

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville woman who police said was found with the body of her 11-year-old daughter following a crash in West Virginia has pleaded guilty to murder.

Erica Newsome, 37, was originally charged with second-degree murder after the crash in August 2017. She was later indicted in 2018 on a first-degree murder charge. Additional charges of aggravated child abuse and child neglect were dropped.

Investigators said Newsome was standing next to her daughter’s body near an embankment where her truck crashed. The trooper who responded to the crash said he discovered the body wrapped in a comforter about 150 yards from the scene of the crash.

According to the police report, witnesses told police she struck a guardrail on Allegheny Mountain, a mile-and-a-half west of the Virginia border, then removed her daughter’s body from the truck.

An arrest warrant for Newsome, filed by the State Attorney’s Office, details the injuries found on 11 year old Kaye-lea Plummer’s body. It also reveals cellphone searches Newsome made before investigators said she left her home in the Oceanway neighborhood of Jacksonville to head to Buffalo, New York, where Kaye-lea’s father lives.

According to the warrant, some of the searches included Alligator Ponds,” “Fatal Bridge Accidents in Jacksonville,” “Fatal Car Accidents off Cliffs in Flames,” “People Killed on Virginia Cliffs” and “Virginia Highways that Has Huge Cliff.”

The medical examiner in West Virginia determined the manner of death to be homicide, saying there were multiple injuries on the 11-year-old’s body, which were “evidence of aggravated child abuse,” according to the warrant.

The injuries to the victim’s head, torso and extremities “were determined to be due to assault and contributed to her death,” the warrant says.

Since the crash, Newsome has remained in a jail in West Virginia.

About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.