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Suspect in infant's death found dead

POSTED: August 12, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A woman who sheriff’s officials planned to charge in the death of a Gainesville infant was found dead Thursday in Newton County, authorities said.

While not saying the woman’s death was suicide, officials said foul play is not suspected in her death.

Sue Ann Neidig, 33, was discovered dead at about 2 p.m. Thursday in a home of friends in Newton County, Hall County Sheriff’s Maj. Jeff Strickland said. The cause of her death will be determined by an autopsy.

Strickland said Neidig was the sole suspect in the death of 7-week-old Chance Anthony Chapman, who died Sunday under suspicious circumstances after a 911 call was placed from the East Hall home of Neidig’s boyfriend, Kenneth Chapman, the child’s maternal grandfather.

The boy’s mother had dropped the baby off at her father’s home before going to work Sunday, authorities said.

A 911 call was placed shortly before noon Sunday after the child became unresponsive. Efforts by responding emergency workers to resuscitate the baby were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

An autopsy showed the baby died from trauma to the brain, Strickland said.

Sheriff’s investigators were preparing to apply for murder warrants against Neidig at the time she was found dead.

"We suspect she caused the injury that caused the child’s death," Strickland said. He said no one else is suspected in the baby’s death.

Neidig earlier had been questioned by authorities in connection with the death. She also had come under a cloud of suspicion from friends of the family, according to acquaintance Anthony Towe.

"She was rough with her own children," Towe said.

One of Neidig’s children, a small boy, was taken from the home and put into the protective custody of the local office of the state Division of Family and Children Services shortly after the infant’s death, Strickland said. The boy is now staying with relatives, he said.

Neidig went to a home south of Covington on Wednesday night to stay with close friends she regarded as "surrogate grandparents," Newton County Sheriff’s Lt. Bill Watterson said. She was discovered dead Thursday afternoon by one of the residents. He could not say where in the house she was found.

Asked if suicide was suspected, Watterson would only say, "we do not suspect foul play."

Neidig’s cause of death is pending toxicology tests, he said.

Funeral services for baby Chance were held Wednesday.

A guest book on The Times’ Web site contained numerous sentiments of grief for baby Chance’s death.

"There are no words to express what Chance brought to each of us," wrote Linda Nichols of Gainesville. "He was a very special boy in each of our hearts for such a short time, but he will remain there forever."



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