NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – A South Carolina woman who fled before her trial last month for throwing her two newborns in the trash, killing both, was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison.
Alyssa Anne Dayvault, 32, of North Myrtle Beach, was convicted in absentia of two counts of homicide by child abuse. Her sentence was handed down but sealed until she made her appearance in court.
Dayvault, a former YouTube makeup artist who has daughters who are 8 and 10 years old, wept as she addressed the judge, calling her actions a “horrible mistake.”
“I just wanted to apologize to my family, especially to my daughters,” Dayvault said, according to WMBF in Myrtle Beach. “I hope that one day, they’ll be able to forgive me for what I’ve done.”
She also apologized to the family of the babies’ biological father, Chris Matechen, who did not know Dayvault had been pregnant. Dayvault hid both pregnancies from him, his family and her own family.
“I especially want to apologize to the Matechens. I never meant to do anything, I never harmed anyone, I made a horrible mistake with my actions and how I handled this,” she said.
An angry Matechen wrote on Facebook following the sentencing that his ex-girlfriend’s apologies are not accepted. He advised her to “please die slowly.”
“I take back all I said about the justice system. Today justice was served,” Matechen wrote. “See you when you’re 72 years old, you evil (expletive).”
In a separate post, he called Dayvault a coward and said no one bought her tears.
Dayvault faced 20 years to life on each murder charge. Circuit Judge Steven H. John of the 15th Judicial Circuit of South Carolina sentenced her to two 40-year sentences, to run concurrently.
She is not eligible for parole.
John sealed the sentence upon Dayvault’s Oct. 15 conviction, to be read following her arrest on a bench warrant, The Associated Press reported. She turned herself in to authorities the day after she was found guilty, according to the Post and Courier in Myrtle Beach.
Dayvault first came under suspicion when she went to the hospital in December 2018 for heavy vaginal bleeding and a low hemoglobin level that required a blood transfusion. The Post and Courier reported that her hormone levels were also elevated, indicating a pregnancy.
The doctor who treated Dayvault testified that an ultrasound showed a mass within the uterus. It was an undelivered placenta and umbilical cord, which were removed during surgery.
No baby was delivered, and Dayvault could not account for the missing infant, authorities said. She initially denied having been pregnant and said she would have been excited if she had been, the Myrtle Beach Sun News reported.
“I am all about my children,” Dayvault said in a videotaped statement. “I’m very confused. I don’t know how to explain it to you. I would know if I had a baby.”
Minutes into the interview, however, she admitted what she had done. Dayvault said that she’d passed out while giving birth to a baby boy and awoke at least 15 minutes later to find him dead.
She claimed she’d panicked and put his body in a trash bag before throwing him away.
“I was so scared, I don’t know,” she said, according to the Sun News. “I wasn’t thinking. I don’t have an explanation. I wasn’t thinking. I was too scared.”
The baby’s body was found in a trash can outside her home.
A pathologist testified that meconium was found in the trash bag with the newborn. Meconium is fecal matter that newborns typically expel after they are born.
The doctor told jurors the meconium indicated the child was born alive and likely suffocated inside the plastic bag. His cause of death could not be definitively determined.
“That child was alive in the trash can,” prosecutor Scott Hixson argued in his closing, according to the AP.
When investigators obtained Dayvault’s medical records, they showed that she had been pregnant with a girl in early November 2017.
“During the course of the investigation police obtained medical records which indicated that on 11/4/2017 the defendant was in her third trimester of a pregnancy and that the fetus had a healthy heart tone,” arrest warrants state.
Her daughter was nowhere to be found.
Dayvault admitted during questioning that she’d given birth to the girl one day that same month. She told police that the baby was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck.
She admitted, however, that like her son, her daughter was breathing when she was born. As she did in her son’s case, Dayvault failed to get medical attention for the baby.
Her daughter was also thrown in the trash can, authorities said.
The AP reported that despite Dayvault’s absence from her trial, her defense attorney argued that hiding a pregnancy was not a crime. Neither was failing to get prenatal care for her son, attorney Sharde Crawford said.
“She panicked. She was scared. Here was this child she hadn’t told her family about because she was going to give it up for adoption,” Crawford said.
It took jurors less than two hours to find Dayvault guilty.
Matechen told John last month that he hoped Dayvault’s conviction would help his family move on from the double tragedy.
“It is by far and away the hardest thing we’ve ever had to deal with,” Matechen told the judge, according to the AP. “Justice coming to her makes it a little easier to comprehend.”
Matechen’s father, John Matechen, said the family felt betrayed by Dayvault.
“We welcomed Alyssa into our lives with open arms. We’re a very trusting family,” he said. “People often say how in the heck did you guys not know that she was pregnant? She was really, really good.”