Chesterfield community in shock over death of 11-month-old: 'Things like this don't happen here'

Breanna Lewis. (Source: Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office)
Breanna Lewis. (Source: Chesterfield County Sheriff's Office)

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A community is in shock, coming to terms with a crime they say typically doesn't happen in Chesterfield County.

We're learning more about a mother police consider as the prime suspect in the death of her 11-month-old daughter.

Breanna Lewis is being held at the Chesterfield County Detention Center after initially reporting that her daughter, Harlee Lane Lewis, had been kidnapped but just two hours later the little girl was found dead by authorities.

Several families stopped by a growing memorial, which now sits near the crime scene where Harlee's body was found. One mother was brought to tears as she and her children delivered flowers. The woman, who chose not to give her name, tells WIS-TV she's having a hard time coming to terms with someone so innocent facing such an unfair, and untimely death.

"All I saw was her face and her smile and she's just so beautiful. She was just a beautiful, beautiful baby and she deserved so much better."

Tuesday, 19-year-old Lewis told police that she had been attacked, right before her daughter had been kidnapped, but not long after, the 11-month-old's body was discovered just 1,000 yards from her home.

"Things like this, they just don't happen in Chesterfield."

Lewis eventually admitted to making up the story about the kidnapping, and now faces multiple charges.

"As a mother, no matter what the situation was if anybody is ever faced with something like this we need to be more open to being there."

Officials say Lewis was pushed to her brink and in the middle of a custody battle. Now, community members are fighting for Harlee's memory.

"She needs this. She needs a memorial. She needs a service. She needs to be celebrated. It's just so hard and we just have to pray for everybody involved because it's just a tragedy."

As for the woman considered a prime suspect in the death of her young daughter?

"Justice. We can't bring her back and I personally think that she needs help."

The community is planning a memorial service in Harlee's memory, June 6 at 6 p.m., at the main courthouse.

Harlee's cause of death has not been released and Sheriff Brooks said her autopsy results cannot be released at this time because of a South Carolina state law requiring the information be turned over to a child fatality review team.

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