AUSTIN, Texas — The female suspect in the death of Austin mother Heidi Broussard tried to pass off the slain mother’s baby as her own, an arrest affidavit obtained by CNN affiliate KXAN reveals.
Magen Rose Fieramusca, who was a friend of Broussard’s, is being held in Travis County on two counts of kidnapping and one count of tampering with a corpse, according to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. She is being held on $600,000 bond, and will reportedly be in court in February.
Broussard and her infant daughter, Margot Carey, vanished December 12 after Broussard dropped her son off at an elementary school.
Fieramusca was arrested in Harris County after Broussard’s body was discovered in a vehicle at Fieramusca’s residence. An autopsy determined that Broussard had been strangled in the trunk of the vehicle, according to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
Broussard’s infant was safely recovered from the home and reunited with her family.
An arrest affidavit for Fieramusca reveals that she said she was pregnant at the same time as Broussard. She convinced friends and an ex-boyfriend that she had given birth before trying to pass off Broussard’s child as her own, according to an affidavit.
It’s unclear if she was faking her pregnancy, or if she ever was actually pregnant.
Brian Erskine, Fieramusca’s attorney told CNN “the cursory information contained in the recently released probable cause affidavit is nothing more than mere allegations.” He added that his team is “anxious to review the evidence collected thus far,” and is “exploring all options at our disposal to vigorously represent Ms. Fieramusca, considering the prosecution’s refusal to provide us with information at this time.”
The Travis County District Attorney’s Office told CNN it is exploring every appropriate charge based on facts and circumstances in the case, up to and including capital murder. Prosecutors have 90 days from the time of the arrest to present their case to the grand jury.
The women were friends
Broussard and Fieramusca had been friends for more than a decade, Broussard’s boyfriend Shane Carey told police, according to the affidavit. The women met while attending the Texas Bible Institute in Columbus, Texas, the document said.
Carey told investigators that Broussard and Fieramusca “became pregnant around the same time in 2019” and that “he saw Fieramusca visibly pregnant in person.” He said “both women had spoken about the possibility of delivering on the same date,” according to the affidavit.
When Broussard delivered Margot on November 26, Fieramusca drove from Houston, allegedly at 37 weeks pregnant, to be at the hospital during the birth. According to Carey, Fieramusca interrupted his father from holding the baby right after birth saying she wanted to hold her because she had to leave soon, the affidavit said.
Carey told investigators that he gave Fieramusca a key to the family’s apartment and she stayed with them for a night after the birth. He says that although Fieramusca said she would leave the key on the counter he was never able to locate it, according to the affidavit.
On December 8 or 9, Broussard told Carey that Fieramusca had given birth to a baby girl but he never saw any photos of the baby, according to the affidavit.
Surveillance video shows the suspect vehicle
Surveillance video taken by a neighbor shows Fieramusca’s vehicle in the parking lot of Broussard’s apartment complex on the day of her disappearance, the affidavit said.
Another resident of the apartment complex told investigators that she saw a woman driving a car with the same description as Fieramusca’s vehicle.
The resident said she saw a woman with a small infant get into the back seat of the vehicle before it sped away. The woman in the back seat of the car wouldn’t have had time to put the baby in a car seat, the resident told investigators, according to the affidavit.
That resident identified Fieramusca as the driver of the vehicle she saw speed away.
‘That’s the baby at my house’
Investigators with the FBI found the details of Fieramusca’s actions surrounding the birth of Broussard’s daughter consistent with the profile of female child abductors, the affidavit said.
They tracked her social media movements and internet searches on her phone which included “Amber alert issued Austin,” and “bodies found in Austin.” Some form of “Heidi Broussard” was searched at least 162 times from a device linked to Fieramusca’s email account, according to the affidavit.
FBI agents followed Fieramusca’s ex-boyfriend Christopher Green as he left their shared residence in Houston. They approached him as he left a Target store with baby clothes and formula.
When agents confronted him with the missing flyer showing Broussard and Margot he replied “That’s the baby at my house,” the affidavit said.
Green told police that he and Fieramusca had broken up earlier in the year but were still sharing a house.
He said he noticed that Fieramusca’s stomach “grew during the year,” saying “he felt her stomach, which he described as hard,” the affidavit said.
However, Green allegedly said he never saw Fieramusca’s bare stomach during the pregnancy, stating that “their relationship during the year did not lend itself to seeing her in stages of undress.” Green believed that Fieramusca was pregnant with his child, the affidavit revealed.
When interviewed by a Texas Ranger, Fieramusca said she went to the beach with a cousin on December 12 while Green remained in Houston working. According to the affidavit, Fieramusca told investigators that when she saw Green on December 13 she told him, “Don’t be mad, don’t be mad.” When he asked why he would be mad she told him that there was a baby on the bed. Fieramusca said that she went into labor and delivered their baby without telling him, the affidavit said.
Fieramusca told investigators that she had given birth at a birthing center in The Woodlands, an area north of Houston, on December 12 and brought the baby home the same day. When questioned by investigators she could not recall the name of the center, the affidavit said.
Her attorney says the defense still hasn’t seen all of the evidence in the case.
“We call upon patience and resisting the rush to judgment until all the facts are in,” said Fieramusca’s attorney, Brian Erskine.