AUSTIN, Texas — Two longtime friends delighted in the fact that they were experiencing simultaneous pregnancies and expressed joy at the possibility that they’d give birth on the same day.
When Heidi Broussard went into labor Nov. 25, Magen Fieramusca drove from Houston to Austin and made it to the hospital in time to hold the hand of the woman who has been described as her “best friend.”
Fieramusca, 33, was in the delivery room the following day as Broussard’s daughter, Margo Carey, was born. Broussard’s fiancé, Shane Carey, later told police that Fieramusca, also known as Maygen Humphrey, appeared visibly pregnant at the hospital.
Her entire nine-month pregnancy was a hoax, police allege.
A newly unsealed arrest affidavit in Broussard’s Dec. 12 kidnapping and subsequent death states that Fieramusca’s faked pregnancy was an elaborate plan concocted so she could steal baby Margo and raise her as her own.
The affidavit, first obtained by the Austin American-Statesman, details the alleged evidence authorities say shows Fieramusca abducted then-2-week-old Margo and Broussard, whose decomposing body was found Dec. 19 in a duffel bag in the trunk of Fieramusca’s light gray Nissan Versa.
Broussard, 33, had been strangled.
Margo, at that point 3 weeks old, was found unharmed inside the home where Fieramusca lived with her ex-boyfriend, who the affidavit reveals believed the baby to be his own newborn daughter. After DNA testing confirmed the baby’s identity, she was reunited with her father in time for her first Christmas.
Fieramusca is charged with two counts of felony kidnapping and tampering with a human corpse, Travis County jail records show. She is due in court again Feb. 3
No one has been charged with Broussard’s killing, but prosecutors say additional charges, “up to and including capital murder,” are possible, ABC13 in Houston reported. Police are still investigating who killed Broussard and where the slaying took place.
She was laid to rest Dec. 28 in Lake Charles, Louisiana, where she grew up, according to her obituary.
Broussard was reported missing the night of Dec. 12 by Carey, who came home from work that afternoon and found her missing from their apartment, though her car was outside. According to authorities, he initially believed she and the baby might be at the park or visiting a friend in the complex but grew worried when she failed to pick up their 6-year-old son from school.
At the time, police officials said she had last been seen alive dropping the boy off at Cowan Elementary School that morning.
When Carey returned from picking their son up, he noticed Broussard’s purse and wallet were in her unlocked car. Her keys and cellphone were missing.
Margo’s baby supplies, including formula required to help treat her for jaundice, were inside the apartment, according to the affidavit. After calling friends and family and not finding Broussard, Carey called police.
“Shane Carey stated that Heidi Broussard would not abandon her family, especially her elementary-aged child,” the affidavit reads.
Carey and mutual friends of the two women told authorities that Fieramusca and Broussard, who met at a religious camp, had been close friends for more than a decade, despite living in different cities. Religion was important to Broussard, according to her obituary.
“During her younger years, she was an active member of Abundant Life Fellowship, church camp and youth group,“ her obituary reads. “She was a member of Life Church of Austin and found comfort in raising Silas in the church and had already attended her first Sunday with Margo.”
The obituary states that Broussard had a “servant’s heart” and that everyone was her “best friend.” On social media over the past several years, she referred to several women by the term.
One of those women was Fieramusca. In April 2013, Broussard posted on Facebook that she was excited to spend the following day with her “best friend” Maygen Humphrey, who she said would be helping her decide on baby shower invitations.
Broussard was pregnant with her son, Silas, at the time.
The following month, Broussard posted photos that appear to show her and Fieramusca at the beach together.
Fieramusca, whose LinkedIn profile indicates she works as a wedding planner, and Broussard, who studied off-and-on to be veterinary technician but worked as a server at Cracker Barrel, were excited that they were purportedly pregnant together, Carey told police officials.
The affidavit states that Broussard’s family and friends noticed odd behavior from Fieramusca soon after Margo’s Nov. 26 birth at St. David’s South Austin Hospital.
Shane Carey’s father noted that Fieramusca interrupted his first meeting with his newborn granddaughter, asking to hold the baby first.
“Immediately after Shane Carey’s father was handed his grandchilld, Magen Fieramusca interjected herself and asked to hold the newborn child, stating that she had to leave,“ the affidavit says. “Shane Carey’s father was surprised by the actions of Magen Fieramusca and that his first introduction and time with his grandchild was interrupted by a friend of Heidi’s.”
Another of Broussard’s friends, Vickie Shreves, was also in the delivery room with Broussard and Carey when Margo was born. Shreves told People magazine last month that Fieramusca was silent as she held Broussard’s hand.
“Magen was quiet. Somber,” Shreves told the magazine. “She wasn’t saying a word to her.”
Shreves said Fieramusca abruptly left the room minutes after Margo’s 10:12 p.m. arrival.
“Without a goodbye, she was gone. I knew something was wrong,” Shreve said.
Carey and Broussard had given Fieramusca a key to their apartment the day of the baby’s birth and allowed her to stay there overnight. Fieramusca told Carey she would leave the key on a counter in their kitchen, but Carey told police neither he nor Broussard ever found the key.
According to KVUE in Austin, which also obtained the affidavit, Carey told police he learned Dec. 8 or 9 that Fieramusca had also delivered a baby girl. Carey said he never saw photos of the child Fieramusca claimed she had given birth to.
The investigation into Broussard and Margo’s disappearance heated up Dec. 18, when a woman came forward and said she was driving through the rear of the young family’s apartment complex, Club at Summer Valley, on Dec. 11 or 12 and saw a light-colored four-door vehicle stop perpendicular to the parking spaces.
The woman, a fellow resident of the complex, told police a white woman emerged from between two of the buildings carrying an infant in a knit cap, the affidavit says. She walked toward the car, where another woman emerged from the front passenger seat and greeted the woman with the baby.
“The front seat passenger opened the rear passenger side door of the vehicle, the adult female carrying the small infant entered the rear passenger seat, both doors closed and the vehicle drove away,” the affidavit says.
The witness said the woman with the baby did not have time to secure the baby in a child seat before the car drove away. The affidavit did not say who may have been driving the car.
KVUE reported that the woman was presented with a photo lineup including Fieramusca on Dec. 19. The witness said she was 60% to 70% certain Fieramusca was the woman she saw in the car that picked up Broussard and Margo.
Police officials have not said if they believe a second person is involved in the kidnapping and Broussard’s slaying.
According to the affidavit, a resident at Broussard and Carey’s apartment complex had surveillance cameras that backed up the witness’s story.
The cameras captured video of “a light-colored four-door vehicle with the outline, window placement and general appearance consistent with Magen Fieramuscha’s gray 2015 Nissan ... driving northbound towards the rear of the complex at approximately 9:05 a.m. on Dec. 12, 2019,” the affidavit says. “Shane Carey and Heidi Broussard’s apartment is on the rear of the complex.”
Police investigators began focusing on Fieramusca, obtaining a search warrant for her internet searches. What they found linked to a Gmail account under the name Maygen Humphrey was troubling.
On the day Broussard and her baby vanished, Fieramusca searched “reasons for Amber Alert” and “Amber Alert issued Austin” -- before an alert was issued for the missing pair.
Two days later, she searched “bodies found in Austin Texas,” authorities say.
She had also Googled “Heidi Broussard” at least 162 times in the five weeks prior to her arrest, predating Broussard’s kidnapping by four weeks, the affidavit says.
Fieramusca also shut down her Facebook account, which had been active since 2008, on Dec. 17, during the investigation.
Cellphone data also pinpointed Fieramusca’s movements before and during the investigation, the affidavit shows. The data shows she traveled from Houston to Austin on Nov. 26, the day Margo was born, and that she remained in the area through the next day.
It also showed her in the area of Broussard’s apartment complex the day Broussard and Margo disappeared, according to the court documents.
‘That’s the baby at my house’
FBI and Texas state investigators set up surveillance Dec. 19 on the home where Fieramusca lived with her ex, Christopher Green, the affidavit says. The Texas Department of Public Safety also sent a helicopter into the air to watch the house from above.
The pilot of the helicopter spotted Fieramusca’s Versa parked in the backyard, between the house and the garage.
“The vehicle was parked in a manner consistent with an attempt to conceal the vehicle from public view,” the affidavit says.
Green left the house in a different vehicle that day and headed to Target, where investigators spotted him shopping for baby clothes and buying formula. DPS investigators intercepted him outside the store.
Green told the investigators he and Fieramusca had been in a relationship since 2016 but said they had broken up in March. It was around that time that Fieramusca announced her faked pregnancy.
They continued to live together, Green said. As the months passed, he told police, Fieramusca’s belly grew.
Green said he touched her stomach, which felt hard, according to the affidavit. Because they were no longer a couple, however, he had not seen her bare stomach during her supposed pregnancy.
He said the state of their relationship “did not lend itself to seeing her in stages of undress,” the affidavit says.
Green told the investigators that Fieramusca told him on Dec. 12 that she was going to the beach with her cousin. She returned the following day.
“Don’t be mad, don’t be mad,” Green said Fieramusca told him as he walked into the house on Dec. 13. When Green asked why he would be mad, Fieramusca said there was a baby on the bed, the affidavit says.
According to the document, the investigators showed Green a flyer from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which had photos of the missing Broussard and Margo.
“That’s the baby at my house,” Green said when he saw Margo’s picture, the document states.
The investigators who talked to Green outside Target relayed the conversation to their colleagues watching the former couple’s home. When the surveillance team spotted Fieramusca step outside, a baby monitor in her hand, a Texas Ranger approached her.
Fieramusca told the Ranger she had given birth March 12 at a birthing center in The Woodlands, a planned community about 30 miles north of Houston. She said, however, that she couldn’t remember the name of the center.
She also contradicted Green’s timeline of her return home, stating that she took her daughter home the same day she gave birth.
When the Ranger confronted her about the discrepancy of her location the day she said she gave birth, she told him she was not in Austin, the affidavit says.
Fieramusca was arrested that evening, at which time Margo was found unharmed inside the house.
Officers who descended on the home noted the “immediate and unmistakable odor of decomposing flesh” coming from the trunk of Fieramusca’s car.
They opened the trunk to find the missing Broussard’s body stuffed into a black duffel bag, the Post reported.
The newspaper said it is unclear if Fieramusca was ever pregnant. The affidavit unsealed this week notes that the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit found that she fits the profile of a woman who could kidnap a child out of the desire to be a mother.
“Members of the … unit provided an assessment of maternal desire, specifically, that mothers have lost a pregnancy or have falsified pregnancy and have materialize(d) the desire to have a child by taking possession of another child,” the affidavit says.
One of Fieramusca’s attorneys, Brian Erskine, released a statement saying he and his co-counsel, Jackie Wood, are “anxious to review the evidence collected thus far and have many of the same questions you do.”
Erskine said he understands the public’s desire for swift and certain answers, according to ABC13.
“We call upon patience and resisting the rush to judgment until all the facts are in,” Erskine’s statement said. “The cursory information contained in the recently released probable cause affidavit is nothing more than mere allegations. As with every American accused of a crime, unless the state has proven these allegations beyond any reasonable doubt, Ms. Fieramusca remains innocent.”
He accused Travis County officials of violating their own policy of providing pre-indictment discovery of evidence, saying prosecutors have cited the case’s “complexity.” State law does not require discovery prior to an indictment.
“Due process requires fair dealing and full disclosure of ALL facts and mitigating circumstances no matter how complex, and time is of the essence,” Erskine said, according to the news station. “We are exploring all options at our disposal to vigorously represent Ms. Fieramusca, considering the prosecution’s refusal to provide us with information at this time.”
Fieramusca is being held in the Travis County jail in lieu of bail totaling $600,000.
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