UK couple to remain jailed after baby’s remains found in bag

Criminal Law

A couple whose disappearance sparked a nationwide search in England were ordered to remain in custody Friday after evidence presented during a court hearing revealed that the remains of an infant were found in a garden shed close to where the pair were finally found.

Constance Marten, 35, and Mark Gordon, 48, are charged with gross negligence manslaughter, concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice. They made their first appearance in court on Friday at Crawley Magistrate’s Court, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) south of London.

The couple spoke only to confirm their names, birth dates and that neither had a permanent address. Gordon had a gray sweater over his head throughout the hearing. Their next court appearance is scheduled for March 31 at Central London Criminal Court.

Marten and Gordon were arrested Monday in Brighton on the south coast of England. Authorities had been searching for them since Jan. 5, when their burning car was found beside a highway in northwestern England. Marten was believed to have given birth shortly before she disappeared.

The body of the infant was found under some diapers inside a plastic bag that was discovered in a garden shed north of Brighton, authorities said during Friday’s hearing. The grisly discovery followed a two-day search by hundreds of police officers aided by search and rescue teams, dogs, drones and thermal imaging cameras. Authorities haven’t yet determined the cause of death or the sex of the child.

Gross negligence manslaughter involves negligent behavior that a reasonable person should have understood presented an obvious risk of death to someone to whom they owed a duty of care.

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