DALLAS, NC (WBTV) - A Gaston County woman charged in June with murdering her baby 14 years ago has had the murder charge dropped.
Patricia Loretta Payne was arrested in June and charged with first degree murder. She says earlier this year she apparently confessed on two separate occasions to murdering her then-five month old son Scotty.
Scotty had originally been ruled to have died of sudden infant death syndrome.
Payne initially confessed to murdering the baby while being questioned on a completely unrelated larceny and breaking and entering case.
But Payne says she doesn't remember either confession. She admits to battling an addiction to the pain medication drug Soma, and takes other drugs as well. She says she had been popping pills at the time.
"I was told that I talked to [police] about me killing Scotty...and I don't remember it," she told WBTV from her home in Dallas.
Payne lived in Stanley at the time the child died, and it's Stanley police that charged her with first degree murder in June.
Payne spent 37 days in jail before receiving a visit from her attorney on Thursday.
"He said they came across concrete evidence that there's no way I could have done it," Payne said.
The first degree murder charge against Payne was dropped and she was released from jail Thursday night.
The new evidence that came to light was a police report from the time of baby Scotty's death. The report indicates that a relative had seen the baby alive after Payne went to work a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift that night.
The baby was dead by the time Payne came home. If the information on the report is true, that means Scotty died while Payne was at work -- and she couldn't have killed him.