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Parents say daughter didn't understand her actions when she put baby in trash

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27 2014 1:40 p.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, Aug. 29 2014 7:59 p.m. MDT

An officer escorts an unidentified woman from a home in Kearns after a recently born baby was found in a trash bin of a home next door, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014

Ravell Call, Deseret News

KEARNS — The distraught parents of a woman accused of disposing of her newborn daughter in a trash can say their daughter has "special needs" and didn't understand what she was doing.

"She doesn't process things correctly," Robert Englert said Wednesday. "She didn't know what to do. She was confused. She was scared."

Englert said police told him Tuesday they weren't going to arrest his daughter, but "they arrested her anyway."

Alicia Englert, 23, is being investigated for the attempted murder of her newborn daughter.

Robert Englert, who helped remove the baby from the trash can earlier that day without knowing it was his granddaughter, said his daughter wouldn't understand any charges filed against her, and jail time wouldn't mean anything to her.

"Alicia's not a monster at all," he said. "She's a sweetheart. It's just a bad circumstance. She didn't even know she was pregnant."

Neighbors had alerted Robert Englert about a baby found in a trash can and he ran to help. He said he climbed inside, picked up the baby, wrapped it in a blanket and held it until an ambulance arrived.

"I was like … 'Who would do a thing like this?'" he said. "I had no idea it was my daughter."

Police said the baby was likely born around midnight Sunday, and Robert Englert said Alicia Englert left for work at 6 a.m. Tuesday. The baby was found about 7 a.m. that morning.

Police are not releasing details about what happened from the time the baby was born, though booking documents state the baby did not receive any medical treatment or proper nutrition.

Robert Englert said the newborn "seemed OK" while he held her. The baby, he said, made "a little bit of noise but wasn't screaming" and it felt warm, all but the tiny feet that were cold.

The baby remained in critical condition Wednesday, according to Unified police detective Jared Richardson.

Richardson would not say whether Alicia Englert exhibited any handicaps but said police could not use that information unless a professional diagnosis is made, which he said is "up to the defendant."

Alicia Englert has yet to be charged with any crime, but she is being held in the Salt Lake County Jail.

"She doesn't understand what's going on at all," said Tammy Englert, the woman's mother. "We tried to explain it to her, and she didn't realize it was that bad what she had done."

The rest of the family, she said, is "heartbroken."

"I'm completely lost. My daughter is in jail. They won't let me see my granddaughter. I have no rights," the emotional mother said. "My other kids are heartbroken. They're devastated and heartbroken and lost. I feel lost."

Alicia Englert allegedly told officers she was afraid for her parents to find out about the pregnancy. She said she discarded the baby "in hopes it would die and solve her problems," a police report states.

Both Robert and Tammy Englert said they noticed their daughter "had gained a little weight," but they were completely unaware that she was pregnant.

"I'm not going to tell my daughter, 'You're fat, and lose some weight,'" Tammy Englert said. "How do you do that?"

Robert Englert said his daughter "complained of bad cramps" Sunday and had been laying on the couch with a heating pad over her stomach.

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