Mother of toddler found dead on front porch pleads guilty

Mother of toddler found dead on front porch pleads guilty
Basinger (Source: Burke County Sheriff's Office)

BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The mother of a 3-year-old boy who was found dead on a front porch in freezing weather pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in court on Monday.

Jamie Basinger was indicted in March on charges of involuntary manslaughter and felony child abuse. In court in November, the State asked Basinger if she would plead guilty to the involuntary manslaughter charge and she declined.

After rejecting the plea deal, a trial date was set for December 11.

Basinger was given a suspended sentence of 19 to 32 months with 36 months of supervised probation for the death of her son, Landyn Michael Melton, who was found dead on March 15 on a porch on Hopewell Road. A neighbor called to report what they thought was a child's body.

A judge ordered that Basinger undergo a substance abuse assessment and comply with all conditions of community service and all Department of Social Services orders regarding her other child.

The indictments against Basinger came down on April 3 and were acted on a week later.

It is still unclear how Melton ended up on the porch in the bitter cold, but the child's body had no signs of trauma, according to the autopsy.

It was in the low 20s that morning and officials do believe Landyn was on the porch "for a while," said Major Banks Hinceman.

Four search warrants were issued after the boy was found dead. According to the affidavits presented to a judge to allow the searches to take place, Basinger was questioned by investigators and "Admitted to methamphetamine drug use on March 13, 2017 and marijuana drug use on March 14, 2017."

Reports stated the defendant and her boyfriend were "passed out" inside the house when officers repeatedly banged on the door of the home after finding the child.

Basinger also told authorities she last saw her son alive at 10:30 p.m. on March 14 when she put him to bed.

The warrants state that Basinger volunteered to take what is called a Ten Panel Drug Screening Urine Test. The paperwork states results from that showed Basinger tested positive for a "Multitude of illegal substances (drugs)." Because of that test, additional urine and blood samples were requested and seized from Basinger and sent to the state lab for analysis. Results of those tests have not been released."

When Basinger was arrested and was being taken into the Magistrate's Office, WBTV asked her if drugs had played a part in what happened. She remained silent.

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