Over a year after the incident, the Austin woman who allegedly killed her best friend and kidnapped her newborn baby saw a courtroom virtually from the Travis County Jail for the first time on Monday.
Thirty-five-year-old Magen Fieramusca's trial was reset to April 28 after her defense attorneys asked the Travis County court for another month to prepare for the case.
Fieramusca's charges include capital murder, tampering with a corpse and two counts of kidnapping after her best friend, Austinite Heidi Broussard, went missing in December 2019 and was found dead in the trunk of Fieramusca's car at a Harris County home a few weeks later. Broussard's three-week-old baby, Margo Carey, was found safely inside the home.
According to Broussard's ex-boyfriend, Fieramusca tried to pass on the baby as her own and allegedly told friends and family she had given birth to a daughter named Luna Mae. Fieramusca's ex-boyfriend said that he had noticed her belly growing and feeling "hard" in the weeks before the alleged kidnapping.
Alongside Broussard's body, evidence against Fieramusca includes several internet searches she made during the kidnapping window, including "reasons for Amber Alert," "Amber Alert issued Austin," and "bodies found in Austin Texas."
The FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit found "maternal desire" to be Fieramusca's main motive in the alleged kidnapping and murder. According to the unit, some mothers who lose their baby can have urges to take another in order to fulfill their wishes of having a child.
The case shocked the nation and was even featured on Dateline NBC's Abducted in early 2020. Broussard's Austin neighbors have said she was an "awesome mom" and friend and have held vigils in her honor.
The child, who is now over a year old, was reunited with her father two days before Christmas 2019.
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Terry Black’s Barbecue is journeying outside of the smoked meats sphere and into the hospitality sector, announcing plans to open “Friday Mountain,” a resort-style vineyard near Driftwood.
According to a report from the Austin Business Journal, Friday Mountain will be located on 64 acres at 150 Concord Circle, featuring a boutique hotel with 22 rooms, a 14-acre vineyard and a 20,000-square-foot underground wine facility, a spa, event space, all-day café and high-end restaurant. Construction is poised to start in the next month.
The courtyard outside of the event space will echo Hill Country architecture. (Rogers-O'Brien Construction)
Co-owner Mark Black said he expects construction to last about 10 months, hoping for opening early next year, and would hire around 140 employees: 60 full-time and 80 part-time.
The new project has long been in the works for the restaurateurs—including Mark’s twin brother Mike and sister Christina—who come from the same lineage as those behind Lockhart’s Black’s BBQ but separated the business due to a falling out within the family.
Friday Mountain was originally planned to be a wedding venue but issues arising about noise, traffic and environmental concerns led the Dripping Springs City Council to ask for updated plans.
A rendering of the entrance to the planned underground wine cave. (Rogers-O'Brien Construction)
In the new plans, which have since been submitted, Black said he heard the neighborhood's concerns and is focusing on working with the right contractors to avoid issues. Black said he knows not everyone will be on board with the venue but that it will provide a little something for everyone.
To bring the concept to life, Black is partnering with engineers at Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc., architects at Lawrence Group, and Rogers-O’Brien Construction Co. Ltd. as the general contractor.
As for the vineyard, Black has partnered with Salt Lick Cellars to have wine aged and ready to drink wine upon opening and will hand off wine making operations to enthusiast Phil Price.
According to a Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation filing, the project will cost an estimated $20 million to be completed in January 2023.
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The Texas French Bread Bakery, located on 2900 Rio Grande Street, has been completely destroyed after a fire erupted on Monday night.
The Austin Fire Department responded to the fire just before 11 p.m., where they arrived to see flames coming from the roof of the bakery. Firefighters fought the fire for about an hour before the roof collapsed.
While no one was injured in the fire, firefighters say the historic building was completely totaled.
Texas French Bread just went up in flames pic.twitter.com/agXqKN3c00
— Jordan (@AimIessFriend) January 25, 2022
AFD determined that the fire was accidental and caused by mechanical failure. AFD said the damages amounted to $1.6 million total: $1.1 million in structural damage and $500,000 in damage to the contents of the bakery.
This year, Texas French Bread will celebrate 40 years of business. Before the bakery occupied the building, it was the Rome Inn, a music venue that hosted 1970s artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan.