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Isaac Austin

A Deseret Morning News search of court records and newspaper archives identified 36 children younger than 6 who died as a result of child-abuse related homicide since 1999.

Twenty-three victims were boys; 13 were girls. Among those who were charged with crimes are 25 men and 13 women. In two cases, both parents were charged. Fourteen fathers and seven mothers were accused of killing their biological or adopted sons or daughters.

But there may be many more child-homicide cases that have gone undocumented.

Prosecutors in Salt Lake, Davis, Weber and Utah counties were unable to say how many potential cases they screen for charges but, for various reasons, do not file any charges. None of them track that information.

"We don't file every case that comes to us a possible homicide," Deputy Salt Lake District Attorney Jim Cope said. "I couldn't tell you if it is 3 percent or 30 percent that we get rid of."

Cope conceded that sometimes prosecutors may take the easy way out. "I think justice is being done in the cases that we bring," he said. "I think there are some people who have quote 'gotten away with murder.' "

Weber County

Victim: Karston Sampson, 17 months

Died: Jan. 29, 1999

How died: Shaken baby syndrome

Evidence: Pre-existing medical condition complicated case

Accused: Justin Jay Scott, mother's boyfriend

Charge: Murder

Outcome: Scott entered an "Alford plea"* to second-degree child abuse homicide; 2nd District Judge Parley Baldwin sentenced Scott to 30 days in jail.

Victim: Isaac Austin, 4 months

Died: Feb. 10, 2001

How died: Beating, shaking

Evidence: Lacerated liver, 16 broken ribs and head injury

Accused: John L. Austin, baby's father

Charge: Capital homicide

Outcome: Austin pleaded guilty to lesser charge of first-degree murder; 4th District Judge Brent West sentenced Austin to five years to life. His first parole hearing is scheduled for 2016.


Victim: Nathan Scheer, 6 months

Died: May 11, 2001

How died: Suffocation

Evidence: Mother confessed to smothering child with a plastic bag, a pile of blankets and her hand.

Accused: Jennifer Robinson, mother

Charge: Murder; attempted murder, second-degree felony

Outcome: Pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder; 2nd District Judge Stanton Taylor ordered five years to life in prison.


Victim: Schaedie Jaedin Bolan, 19 months

Died: May 26, 2001

How died: Shaking

Accused: Derek Byron West, baby sitter

Charge: Murder

Outcome: Pleaded guilty to lesser charge of child abuse homicide, second-degree felony; 2nd District Judge Roger S. Dutson ordered one to 15 years in prison.


Victim: Jacob Best, 11 months

Died: July 16, 2002

How died: Beating, shaking

Accused: Bellarion Ancira, mother's boyfriend

Charge: Murder

Outcome: Ancira pleaded guilty; 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones sentenced him to five years to life.


Victim: Andrew Joseph David Tilt, 5 months

Died: July 30, 2002

How died: Squeezed

Evidence: Father confessed to being stressed in the middle of the night when baby fussed.

Accused: Patrick Tilt, father

Charge: Murder

Outcome: Jury found him guilty; 2nd District Judge Scott M. Hadley ordered five years to life in prison.


Victim: Yasmin Moody, 3 years

Died: Aug. 25, 2002

How died: Infection due to child abuse

Evidence: Ogden Police Lt. Scott Sandberg called it the worst case of abuse he'd ever seen.

Accused: Craig and Sawson Whitelaw, child's mother and stepfather.

Charge: Murder

Outcome: Both pleaded guilty; 2nd District Judge Pamela G. Heffernan ordered five years to life in prison.


Victim: Ranei Nieman, 10 months

Died: Sept. 7, 2001

How died: Head trauma

Evidence: Severe skull fracture and broken ribs the week before she died.

Accused: Garritt Anderson, mother's boyfriend

Charge: Child abuse homicide, second-degree felony; child abuse, second-degree felony

Outcome: Anderson pleaded guilty; 3rd District Judge Timothy Hanson ordered one to 15 years in prison.


Victim: Eduardo "Lalo" Rodriguez, 3 years

Died: April 22, 2004

How died: Fire

Evidence: Child killed in fire after being left alone at home for 90 minutes.

Accused: Carlos Socrates Rodriguez, father

Charge: Child abuse homicide, second-degree felony

Outcome: Trial pending

Salt Lake County


Victim: Trevor Wagner, 6 years

Died: Aug. 19, 2000

How died: Beating

Evidence: Massive head injuries

Accused: Bobby San Juan, mother's boyfriend

Charge: Murder

Outcome: A jury found San Juan guilty on a lesser charge of second-degree child abuse homicide; 3rd District Judge Pat Brian sentenced San Juan to 15 years in prison.


Victim: Camryn, 40 days old

Died: Dec. 17, 2001

How died: Shaken baby syndrome

Evidence: Doctors at Primary Children's Medical Center overheard Morgan say the baby was fussy and he became frustrated.

Accused: Edd Morgan, adoptive father

Charge: Murder and second-degree child abuse homicide

Outcome: Pleaded guilty to lesser charge of child abuse homicide, a second-degree felony with possible sentence of one-15 years; 3rd District Judge Dennis Fuchs sentenced Morgan to 365 days in jail.


Victim: Jeremy Bunting, 4 years

Died: Nov. 6, 1999

How died: Undetermined

Accused: Michael J. Bunting, father

Evidence: Father injected Freon — a gaseous refrigerant — in boy's bathtub water

Charge: Murder

Outcome: Pleaded guilty to child-abuse homicide, a second-degree felony; 3rd District Judge Timothy Hansen ordered 1-15 years in prison.


Victim: Rhoda Wright, 18 months

Died: Jan. 19, 2001

How died: Head trauma

Evidence: Child had 3- to 4-inch skull fracture that appeared to be result of blunt force trauma.

Accused: Michelle Afton Michaels, baby sitter

Charge: child abuse homicide, second-degree felony

Outcome: Wright entered an "Alford plea"*; 3rd District Judge Dennis M. Fuchs sentenced Michaels to 36 months probation.


Victim: Brianna Williams, 1 year

Died: June 9, 2000

How died: Suffocation

Accused: Anthony Williams, baby's father

Charge: Child abuse homicide

Outcome: 3rd District Judge Ann Boyden found Williams not guilty in a bench trial.


Victim: Salem Corey Hogan, 21 months

Died: June 24, 2002

How died: Shaking

Evidence: Child lived for 21 months before he died of injuries.

Accused: Christopher Alan Hogan, father

Charge: Child abuse homicide, second-degree felony

Outcome: He entered a "Sery plea"** to charge. 3rd District Judge Dennis Frederick ordered one to 15 years in prison.


Victim: Trinity Kale, 8 months

Died: July 5, 2003

How died: Blunt force trauma

Accused: Christopher Paul Kale, father

Evidence: Internal bleeding, bruises and burns. Also malnourished and dehydrated.

Charge: Murder

Outcome: Trial pending


Victim: Casey Borrow, 18 months

Died: Oct. 22, 2003

How died: Head trauma

Evidence: Internal hemorrhaging and injuries to scalp, torso and extremities

Accused: Jeanette Ilene Gomez, foster mother

Charge: Murder

Outcome: Pleaded guilty to lesser charge of child abuse homicide, second-degree. 3rd District Judge Michael K. Burton ordered one-15 years in prison.


Victim: Sindy Blanco, 3 months,

Died: Dec. 14, 2000

How died: Squeezing

Evidence: Ten broken ribs and fractures to both legs above the knees. County prosecutor Trina Higgins said Blanco was not charged with homicide because medical examiner ruled cause of death "undetermined."

Accused: Felix Ruben Blanco, father

Charge: Two counts of third-degree child abuse

Outcome: Blanco pleaded guilty; 3rd District Judge Dennis Frederick ordered two consecutive zero-to-five terms in prison.


Victim: Miguel Rios, 4 months

Died: Oct. 19, 2004

How died: Head trauma

Evidence: Showed he was struck on the side of his head

Accused: Joel Rios, father

Charge: Child abuse homicide, second-degree felony

Outcome: Rios pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of child abuse/neglect, a third-degree felony; 3rd District Judge Sheila McCleve suspended a zero-to-five-year prison sentence but ordered Rios to spend one year in a county jail.


Victim: Dreydon Archuleta, 5 months

Died: Sept. 27, 2004

How died: Shaking

Evidence: Medical examiner concluded baby died from violent shaking and a blow to the head.

Accused: Julie Archuleta, mother

Charge: Child abuse homicide, second-degree felony

Outcome: Pending. Next court date Jan. 31


Victim: Carston Williams, 4 years

Died: Oct. 19, 2004

How died: Beating

Evidence: Emergency crews found child in critical condition with injuries to his head, face and back.

Accused: Adam Sean Jeppson, mother's boyfriend

Charge: Child abuse homicide, second-degree felony

Outcome: Pending

Davis County


Victim: Clancy Peterson, 3 months

Died: March 29, 2000

How died: Shaken baby

Accused: Jeri Daines

Charge:Murder

Outcome: Daines was acquitted in a jury trial.


Victim: Jandson Cayle LeFevre, 21 months

Died: Sept. 6, 2000

How died: Head trauma

Evidence: Berry admitted she threw the boy, who hit his head on a plastic toy and the corner of his bed.

Accused: Sarah Marie Berry, stepmother

Charge: Murder; manslaughter, second-degree felony

Outcome: She pleaded guilty to lesser charge of child abuse homicide, second-degree felony; 2nd District Judge Dawson ordered one to 15 years in prison.


Victim: Lacey Lawrence, 6 years

Died: Sept. 1, 2002

How died: Arson fire

Evidence: Ott was enraged about his estranged wife's relationship with Lacey's father.

Accused: Mark Anthony Ott

Charge: Aggravated homicide, arson, burglary, assault, theft

Outcome: Jury found Ott guilty; 2nd District Judge Michael Allphin ordered life without parole.


Victim: Jordyn Marie Parker, 20 months

Died: Sept. 26, 2002

How died: Shaking

Evidence: Extensive bleeding on the brain.

Accused: Raynette Marian Olsen, mother's cousin

Charge: Murder

Outcome: Pleaded guilty to lesser charge of child abuse homicide, third degree. Sentencing is set for March 1.

Utah County

Victim: Adrian Avila, 4 months

Date died: June 5, 2000

How died: Shaking

Evidence: Brain swelling, bleeding

Accused: Austreberto Mera, aunt's boyfriend

Charge: Child abuse homicide, third-degree felony

Outcome: Police believe Mera fled to Mexico.


Victim: Cassandra Killpack, 4 years

How died: Water intoxication

Evidence: The girl's 7-year-old sister told police her mother tied Cassandra's hands behind her back and forced water down her throat.

Accused: Richard and Jennete Killpack, adoptive parents

Charge: Child abuse homicide, second-degree felony

Outcome: Trial to start September 2005


Victim: Charlotte Thomas, 11 months

Died: June 2, 2004

How died: Suffocation

Evidence: Police say girl was smothered by pillows and cushions on a sofa.

Accused: Sean Barry Thomas

Charge: Child abuse homicide, second-degree felony

Outcome: Pending

Washington County


Victim: Oliver Woods, 4 days

Died: Feb. 8, 2000

How died: Neglect

Accused: Rebekah Jolyn Woods, mother

Evidence: Baby's body found wrapped in a blanket at a miniature golf course.

Charge: Murder, first-degree; desecration of human body, third-degree felony

Outcome: She was convicted of lesser charge of negligent homicide, a class A misdemeanor and desecration of human body, a third-degree felony. On Sept. 23, 2003, 5th District Judge James Shumate suspended a 0-5 prison sentence and a one-year jail sentence.

Summit County


Victim: Wyatt Robert D. Radmall, 22 months

Died: Feb. 15, 2000

How died: Beating

Evidence: Brain contusions.

Accused: Lorin S. Leavitt, mother's boyfriend

Charge: Murder and child abuse homicide, third-degree felony

Outcome: Leavitt pleaded guilty to lesser child abuse homicide, a third-degree felony; 3rd District Judge Robert K. Hilder sentenced Leavitt to 0-5 years in prison.

Box Elder County


Victim: Spencer Ayotte, 2 1/2 months

Died: Sept. 15, 2000

How died: Repeated abuse, beating

Evidence: Fifteen fractured ribs, tears in brain tissue, bruised scalp and bleeding on brain.

Accused: David Ayotte, father

Charge: Murder

Outcome: Pleaded guilty; 1st District Judge Clint Judkins ordered 5 years to life in prison.

Cache County

Victim: Edward Raymond Gularte IV, 2 years

Died: Oct. 1, 2001

How died: Beating

Accused: Edward Raymond Gularte, III, father

Charge: Child abuse homicide, third-degree felony

Outcome: Pleaded guilty; 1st District Judge Gordon J. Low suspended a zero-to-five-year sentence and ordered Gularte to spend 15 months in jail. He was granted credit for time served and released.

Grand County

Victim: Baby girl, 2 1/2 years

Died: Jan. 2, 2004

How died: Strangulation

Evidence: Police found the toddler "unresponsive" in the back seat of Bullock's vehicle 170 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

Accused: Wendy Bullock, mother

Charge: Child abuse homicide, second-degree

Outcome: Pending. Next court date Feb. 22.

Uintah County

Victim: Jayce Melton, 1 year

Died: June 5, 2001

How died: Drowned

Evidence: Mother left Jayce and sibling unattended in bathtub for 32 minutes while on the telephone.

Accused: Jessica T. Forbis, mother

Charge: Child abuse homicide, third-degree felony

Outcome: She pleaded guilty; zero to five years prison suspended and she was placed on 36 months probation

Federal Court

Victims: Dakota Ironhawk Black, 3, and Nicole Gentlehawk Black, 1

Died: Sept. 28, 2000

How died: Stabbing

Evidence: Slashed children's throats in a drunken rage.

Accused: Anderson Black, children's father

Charge: Murder

Outcome: U.S. District Judge David Winder ordered life in prison.


*An "Alford plea" allows a defendant to file a memo stating he or she does not admit guilt. Allows defendant to avoid the risk of trial on a more serious charge. ** "Sery plea" allows a defendant to appeal a guilty plea.