A mother was charged Friday with concealing a homicide and obstructing justice in the 1986 death of her firstborn daughter, as authorities try to unravel the mystery of her second baby’s slaying two weeks ago.
Paula Sims, 29, and her husband, Robert, reported each of the baby girls abducted by a masked gunman who threatened Paula Sims and took the infants while Sims was at work.
Authorities have considered them suspects in both deaths. No charges have been filed in the latest case.
Jersey County State’s Atty. Richard J. Ringhausen signed a criminal complaint Friday alleging one count of concealing a homicide and three counts of obstructing justice in the death three years ago of 13-day-old Loralei Sims, said Linda Long, chief deputy court clerk.
Paula Sims turned herself in to county authorities a few hours after charges were filed. She was arrested and then released on 10% of a $100,000 bond.
Robert Sims was not named in the complaint, which says that his wife knew that Loralei had died “by homicidal means” and gave false information to county Sheriff Frank Yocom and state police investigators.
The Simses’ attorney, Donald Groshong, declined to comment on the case, although he previously has said the couple are innocent.
The Simses refused to answer questions before the grand jury that considered the first daughter’s death in early 1987, citing their Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. The panel took no action.
Police have said Robert Sims told them that he believes his wife may have killed their daughters accidentally.