TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A hearing continues Friday for the woman accused of killing her best friend, Heidi Broussard, kidnapping Broussard’s newborn baby and trying to pass it off as her own.

Magen Fieramusca faces charges of capital murder, tampering with a corpse and two counts of kidnapping in the case, which stems back to December 2019 — when Broussard, 33, first went missing. Her body was found in a Houston suburb in the trunk of a car registered to Fieramusca a week later.

Broussard’s daughter, Margo Carey, who was about a month old at the time, was found alive in the home and reunited with her father two days before Christmas 2019.

Heidi Broussard and her baby Margo Carey
FILE PHOTOS: NBC News’ Sam Brock is reporting Heidi Broussard, an Austin mother who has been missing since Dec. 12, was found dead in the trunk of a car Friday near a home in Jersey Village, Texas.

Thursday’s hearing was held in person in the 460th District Court of Travis County, with Fieramusca appearing in a maroon jail uniform shirt and black-and-white striped pants. She was escorted into the courtroom by four deputies.

Defense says Texas Rangers entered home without search warrant

During the morning portion of the hearing, Fieramusca’s defense requested a motion to suppress evidence on the basis that Texas Rangers entered Fieramusca’s Houston home on Dec. 19, 2019, at 1:17 p.m. without a warrant. The defense claimed Texas Rangers didn’t have probable cause to enter the home at that time. A warrant was eventually issued later that day at 8:30 p.m.

The burden then shifted to the state to establish why there was probable cause to enter the home without a search warrant.

The state cited three exceptions justifying the search and seizure of the home at that time: 1) law enforcement isn’t required to show probable cause when action is immediately necessary to protect human life, 2) there was an objective standard of reasonableness to enter, given the facts and circumstances of the case and 3) consent was given by someone authorized to provide consent, allowing Texas Rangers to enter the home without a warrant.

State calls first witness, the former lead detective on the case

The state called its first witness, who was the lead detective on the case and is now a sergeant. He explained all the events leading up to Texas Rangers entering the home.

He recalled how he was first notified of the disappearance of Broussard and her newborn on Dec. 12, 2019. He explained the case became a high priority after speaking with the baby’s father, Shane Carey, and learning items necessary to care for a newborn were still at Broussard’s apartment. There were also medical concerns, due to the baby having jaundice.

The sergeant then stated multiple agencies got involved, including the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Rangers and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as a number of local agencies and nonprofits. The FBI also deployed its Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Unit and set up a command post at an Austin Police Department office in south Austin, according to the sergeant.

He explained how Fieramusca became a person of interest after speaking with Carey, who told him at the time a friend of Broussard’s had a pregnancy around the same time, but there weren’t any pictures of the baby. A search for Fieramusca’s Facebook page found the account had been deleted, which the former detective also found to be unusual, given the timing.

The sergeant told the court officers went to the hospital where Broussard’s baby was born, and nurses told them they remembered Fieramusca being there and wanting to hold the child before the actual family could.

An FBI behavior analyst also felt the person responsible for Broussard and the baby’s disappearance was a woman with maternal desire, which also led to suspicions Fieramusca needed to be looked into further.

The detective said video footage obtained by APD showed Fieramusca’s car at Broussard’s apartment and confirmed the car was driving in from Houston to Austin on the day of the baby’s birth.

The sergeant recalled a neighbor at the apartment complex stated she saw the same car on the day they went missing, where a white woman was seen holding a baby and getting into the car and driving off.

The detective then notified Houston law enforcement, which set up surveillance and deployed air units to monitor Fieramusca’s house. Video taken by a helicopter found the same car registered to Fieramusca behind a fence in the backyard of the house. The sergeant said he found this to be odd, given there was an open driveway. 

Texas Rangers stopped a man, Chris Green, who was buying baby products. Green said he was previously in a relationship with Fieramusca, and they still lived together. Green stated Fieramusca had just gotten home with their newborn baby on the same day Broussard and her baby went missing in Austin, according to the sergeant. When Texas Rangers showed Green a picture of the missing baby, Green confirmed that was the same baby in Fieramusca’s home.

The sergeant said given all the events up to this point, they felt it was urgent to get into the home for the safety of both the baby and Broussard.

The defense then focused its questions on whether medical issues related to jaundice were of actual concern to justify a warrantless search and seizure.

Audio recordings of Texas Rangers interviews with Fieramusca’s ex-boyfriend

According to audio recordings of Green’s interviews with Texas Rangers, he told investigators Fieramusca suddenly told him of the baby’s birth on Dec. 12, 2019 on his way home from work.

The recordings showed Texas Rangers asking Green if he knew she wasn’t actually pregnant, and he told investigators it was his first baby, and her stomach was growing; he wouldn’t have known if she wasn’t pregnant. Green said in the interview recordings Fieramusca was distant and didn’t give him any details about the pregnancy or doctors appointments.

When Green was informed of what was happening, he said, “This can’t be real.” He showed Texas Rangers a photo of what he thought was his baby, and that’s when Rangers believed it was Broussard’s baby.

Rangers who testified for the state Thursday said they went to the home after that, and they were able to enter through the backyard after the garage door was opened by Fieramusca, which allowed Rangers to find the baby sleeping in a crib.

The defense continued to argue Texas Rangers didn’t have probable cause to enter the house, claiming there was no factual evidence a crime or kidnapping had occurred or the baby was in danger. The defense called the concerns raised by Green manufactured because Texas Rangers informed him of what was happening.

One of two Texas Rangers who testified explained they did a “protective sweep” of the house to find the baby. Once the baby was found safe, he ordered everyone to exit the home, because they didn’t have a search warrant.

Further, the Texas Ranger said they noticed the smell of a decomposing body and traced it to the car but didn’t search or seize anything until the search warrant was obtained later that day. It was only until after the search warrant was issued did the Rangers find Broussard’s body in the trunk of the car and ordered Fieramusca to be arrested.

Complete coverage of the case

The second day of the hearing begins Friday at 9 a.m.