WORCESTER, Mass (WPRI) — A Blackstone mom on trial for murder in the deaths of her two babies was heard nervously laughing in several interview recordings Friday as she tried to explain why the infants’ remains were found inside her squalid Massachusetts home.
Erika Murray, 35, faces murder and other charges after the bodies of three babies were found inside of a bedroom closet in her home back in 2014.
On Friday, Massachusetts State Trooper Shawn Murphy took the stand as audio recordings of a conversation he had with Murray at Northbridge Police Headquarters was played aloud in court.
During the interview, one of the troopers told Murray the story they heard before speaking with her was, “…something out of a horror movie or something… Hollywoodish. Unbelievable.”
Murray can be heard in the recordings providing the names of her four alive children and their birthdays. She said all of them all have the same father, identified as her partner, Ray Rivera.
In the recording, Murray tells the troopers she received prenatal care for her two older children and gave birth to them in the hospital. She said her last two children, found severely neglected, were born at home and without any assistance.
She added that the two older children were insured and had birth certificates. The younger two, she said, did not, adding that she, “…wouldn’t even know how to do that.”
When asked about the births of her two younger daughters, who were 3 and 6 at the time of the interview, Murray nervously laughed and said she ran to the bathroom in the middle of the night and gave birth in her bathtub. She added that Rivera and her other children were home at the time but didn’t wake up, and she never told them about it.
Murray told the troopers during the interview that she “didn’t really gain a lot of weight” while she was pregnant and didn’t receive any prenatal care for her younger children. She said the babies would sleep in the room upstairs where the door was broken.
The troopers immediately questioned this, asking Murray if her partner was deaf and couldn’t hear the babies crying. Murray laughed and said she, “just assumed he didn’t know.”
In the recordings, Murray said the younger children only left their bedroom after Rivera and the older children had left for the day. She also said they never left the house, and she bought formula for them by selling re-purposed furniture online.
Murray told the troopers she would tell Rivera and her older children that she was babysitting her younger children for a friend, saying she “was scared and nervous,” and didn’t want her older children to tell anyone. She said Rivera made it very clear on several occasions he didn’t want any more children after the two oldest were born.
“I got into it and didn’t know how to get it out of it,” Murray said in the interview, admitting to investigators that it sounded strange that no one knew the two younger children were hers.
When troopers asked her why she was afraid to tell Rivera about the children, she said he had a bad temper. Despite this, she said he never hit her or any of the children.
In the recording, troopers expressed disbelief that Murray had birthed two children in the house with no prenatal care and had no complications. In response, Murray told the troopers, “I’m pretty lucky.”
When Murray was asked if she had any miscarriages, she said no. When troopers told Murray they found skeletal remains of a child in her closet, Murray said she had “no idea” how it got there.
Eventually, Murray made an about-face, saying the baby they found wasn’t born alive. She told the troopers she delivered the baby in her bathroom, saw it was blue, cut the umbilical cord and put it in the closet of the room where her children slept.
Following the interview in Northbridge, Murray was arrested and questioned again at the Blackstone Police Department.
Police said they found the skeletal remains of two other babies in the same closet where the first one was found. In an interview recording played aloud in court, Murray said she couldn’t remember when she gave birth to those babies. She added that Rivera did not know about the remains either.
Murray said she thought about abortion for all three babies, but didn’t have healthcare and didn’t know how to get there.
When investigators asked her why she put the remains in the closet, Murray said she panicked, adding she was “ashamed of the whole thing.”