MONROE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Union County jury sentenced a 30-year-old woman who committed infanticide to life without parole on Tuesday.

The jury found Indian Land resident Khrystina Marie Rice guilty of first-degree murder and felony intentional child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury.

Court documents say Rice secretly gave birth to a healthy baby boy in the main bathroom of her residence in October 2019. Rice then inflicted several injuries upon the baby, including a skull fracture, severe facial contusions, and numerous rib fractures.

Rice attempted to conceal the dead baby in a heavy fleece blanket, completely covering his nose and mouth, then put him in a trash bag she cinched up and hid in an adjoining closet.

The baby was later found by responding paramedics when Rice passed out, and her husband, unaware that Rice had delivered a baby, called 911 for help. When questioned by paramedics at the scene, Rice denied giving birth to the baby.

The child’s cause of death was hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy due to suffocation.

“We thank the jurors for delivering some measure of justice for this innocent child’s death,” District Attorney Trey Robison said. “This was an extremely emotional case for Mr. Rice, who lost his child, and every prosecutor and investigator that worked to hold Khrystina Rice accountable for her horrible crimes.”

Union County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation.

In a Facebook post after the sentencing, Sheriff Eddie Cathey commended the investigative efforts of the UCSO deputies and detectives who worked the initial response and the extensive investigation of this homicide. Cathey also thanked the Union County District Attorney’s Office for their preparation, planning, and prosecutorial efforts in this case.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family of the innocent victim in this case who continue to mourn this tragic, unnecessary loss,” Cathey said in a statement.