MORGANTON, N.C. (WBTV) — A North Carolina 3-year-old found dead on a porch last week has been identified by family as Landyn Michael Melton.
Landyn’s third birthday was celebrated March 14 at the home of Ashley Jones. Jones is Landyn’s mom’s sister.
Less than 24 hours later a neighbor called authorities when she thought she saw the body of a child on a porch at the home where Landyn reportedly lived with his mom, Jamie Basinger, and his father, Bradly Melton, according to family members.
Authorities found the 3-year-old’s lifeless body outside in the bitter cold. It is still unclear how the child ended up there, but the child’s body had no signs of trauma, according to an autopsy.
The Burke County Sheriff’s Office says a motorist called around 7:45 a.m. on March 15 to report what they thought was a child lying on the front porch of a home in the 1200 block of Hopewell Road.
Deputies say they arrived a short time later and found the 3-year-old’s body.
Neighbor Judy Hensley feels sorrow and shock about the case. It all unfolded next door to her Burke County home and she wonders how long the little boy survived outdoors.
“It was terrible. It was very, very cold here down in the 20’s. Last night we had a lot of wind,” she said.
For roughly four hours Wednesday morning, Burke County deputies scoured the porch where the boy was found and left the house with evidence from the scene.
Sheriff Steve Whisenant says his investigation has specific issues in mind.
“[We’re] trying to determine how the child got outside, how long the child had been outside, and what the actual cause of death is,” Sheriff Whisenant said.
The sheriff is not ready to rush to judgment and says people who came into contact with the child are cooperating.
“We’re just interviewing the people that were there: the mother, the boyfriend, family members, neighbors and make a determination of the best, the best reason of what happened in that situation,” he said.
Family will gather for a celebration of Landyn’s life Monday.