- Associated Press - Saturday, April 18, 2015

GARY, Ind. (AP) - A body found wrapped in plastic in a Gary home has been identified as that of a central Indiana woman who vanished with her infant daughter in early April, apparently lured away by a woman claiming to be a child-welfare worker, authorities said.

The Lake County coroner said Saturday the body had been identified as that Samantha J. Fleming, 23, of Anderson and an autopsy showed she died from stab wounds.

Anderson police searching for Fleming and her 3-week-old daughter found the body Friday wrapped in plastic, doused with bleach and hidden inside a storage bin in a Gary home, said Lt. Thomas Pawlak of Gary police.

The child, Serenity, was found unharmed at the house and has been returned to relatives in Indianapolis, police said.

A woman inside the house who had been caring for the baby told officers that the girl was her sister’s child, but that her sister had left a week prior to visit their mother in Texas.

Police say that woman’s sister is a suspect in the case, but she has not been charged and is receiving mental health care in Texas.

Anderson police said Fleming and her daughter left Anderson on April 5 with a Gary woman who said she was from the Indiana Department of Child Services and claimed Fleming had a hearing in Lake Superior Court.

Investigators believe the woman posed as a Child Protective Services worker and lured Fleming to Gary.

“She knew a lot about this mother, enough to convince her she was with CPS,” Pawlak said, adding that detectives are trying to determine how she gathered information about Fleming.

Pawlak said that at some point, the Gary woman asked her sister to care for the infant. He said the sister had set up a room in her home for the infant and had visited the Gary home where Fleming’s body was found Friday to pick up more items for the baby when police arrived.

She mentioned to officers that there was foul odor in the home, which those officers traced to Fleming’s hidden body.

Pawlak said the suspect had filled her home with a crib, changing table, carrier and new clothes and had told neighbors and relatives she had been pregnant and that the child was hers.

“It appears that she had been planning this,” he told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville.

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