AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas woman accused of killing a close friend in 2019 who had just given birth and abducting the baby as part of an elaborate scheme to pass the infant off as her own pleaded guilty to murder charges Thursday, prosecutors said.
Magen Fieramusca, 37, was sentenced to 55 years in prison for the death of Heidi Broussard, 33, Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza announced in a statement. Fieramusca waved her right to appeal.
The conviction follows a crime in Austin, Texas, that began with the disappearance of a 3-week-old baby girl and was followed with widening interest as the investigation unfolded and police zeroed in on Fieramusca. Police say the child was later found alive at a home in the Houston area along with Broussard's body in the trunk of Fieramusca's car.
According to an arrest affidavit at the time, Fieramusca abducted Broussard on Dec. 12, 2019, and packed her into a black duffel. Broussard had last been seen dropping off an older child at an elementary school in Austin. Her death was ruled homicide by strangulation.
The baby, Margot Carey, was returned to her father.
“We are hopeful that this outcome will bring some closure to the Broussard and Carey families and help them continue their healing process,” Garza said.
Fieramusca and Broussard were friends who met about a decade ago at church camp, according to court records. At one point, Fieramusca had a key to Broussard’s apartment and the women discussed being pregnant together, even considering that they might give birth on the same day, the court record states.
Broussard's fiance told investigators that she told him on Dec. 8 or 9 that Fieramusca had given birth to a baby girl, but he never saw any photos of the child. Fieramusca told a Texas Ranger that she went to the beach with a cousin on the day Broussard was abducted. But she later told the same officer that she gave birth on that day, although she was unable to provide specifics of her delivery, according to the affidavit.