A West Virginia Circuit Court judge denied bond yesterday for Kathleen Householder, who is charged with murdering her 2-week-old baby, then stuffing her body into a plastic trash bag and throwing it in the Shenandoah River.
Judge Thomas W. Steptoe Jr. cited Householder's good reputation in the community and said he could find no evidence that she would commit a crime if released from custody.
But he said Householder, who is charged with first-degree murder, had shown "calculating cunning and avoidance of responsibilities" in reporting at first to police that the baby had been kidnaped. He sent her back to the Jefferson County Jail.
A preliminary hearing for Householder is scheduled Friday in Circuit Court in Charles Town, according to Rosa Lynch, the court clerk.
The 21-year-old mother, who lives in Rippon, W.Va., told police on Jan. 3 that her baby had been abducted from a pickup truck in a food store parking lot in nearby Winchester, Va. She pleaded for the return of the child in a series of emotional television appearances and in newspaper stories.
A $15,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of the child was offered by the National Missing Child Search Society.
Late last month, Householder changed her story and led police to a stretch of river near Berryville, Va., where the baby's body was found, authorities have said.
A preliminary autopsy report indicated that the child, Lindsey Blake Householder, died of asphyxiation and head trauma, with swelling of the brain, according to officials.
Householder also was charged by Winchester police with filing a false report.
News of Householder's arrest left many people in Rippon embittered and angry. Although many did not know her well, they said they had grieved for her and had prayed in church for the safe return of her baby. Many said the disappearance had caused them to keep closer tabs on their own children, and to lock their doors.
"I think everybody's thoughts were about the same," said Cathy Breedon, a Rippon resident. "We were all just stunned and hurt and upset."