Police: DNA links parents to baby found dead in Nags Head 30 years ago

Scott Gordon Poole and Robin Lynn Byrum [Nags Head Police Department photo]

Town of Nags Head police detectives have used DNA evidence to solve the case of a Baby Doe whose remains were found in the trash 30 years ago.

Scott Gordon Poole, 54, and his wife, Robin Lynn Byrum, 51, both of Taylorsville were arrested Oct. 21 by by the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office and charged with concealing the birth of a child, a Class 1 felony, the Town of Nags Head said in a news release. Additional charges may be filed pending further investigation, the town said.

“These arrests are a result of many years of diligent investigation by our highly-trained and dedicated law enforcement professionals,” said Nags Head Mayor Ben Cahoon in a statement. “While they are responsible for responding to accidents and crimes, they must also defend the innocent. This is a true example of that. The board and I appreciate their diligence in working to solve this crime.”

At 10 a.m. on April 4, 1991, Nags Head Police officers were dispatched to the 8600 block of East Tides Drive in south Nags Head in reference to human remains found in a trash can rack. There, officers found the body of an infant. While at the scene, they were unable to establish Baby Doe’s gender due to decomposition, the release said.

Over the years, Nags Head’s police investigators have examined and re-examined evidence in the case, working to find who was responsible.

“In keeping with the Town’s ongoing commitment to unsolved cases, in 2019, officers began another re-investigation of the case, sending Baby Doe’s rib bone to Othram, a private lab in The Woodlands, Texas, for forensic analysis,” the release said.

The lab recovered human DNA from the bone and used that hereditary material to conduct a genealogical profile, which led to a family in North Carolina. Further investigation by Nags Head Police led to the individuals who were arrested.

“The tragedy of this child’s death and the manner in which his body was disposed of is compounded by the fact that, until now, no one has been found responsible for this incredibly heartbreaking act,” said Nags Head Police Chief Phil Webster. “But, through the hard work of Nags Head Police investigators and our law enforcement partners in the case, those who did this will be held accountable for a death that has remained unsolved for three decades.”

Poole and Byrum were booked into the custody of the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office with bond set at $250,000 for each defendant, the release said. They have since been transferred and are now at the Dare County Detention Center.

Nags Head’s Police Department would like to thank the following law enforcement agencies for their assistance in this important arrest: First Prosecutorial District Attorney’s Office, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Cold Case Unit, the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.