We're looking at what the facts and the evidence are. We have a child who is compromised, who is not taken care of who is not fed . . . And so based on all of the totality of the information that has been presented, and the admissions that have been subsequently been made, that warrants the filing of the charges that we have. —Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill
KEARNS — A mother who allegedly put her newborn infant in a trash can because she didn't want her was charged with attempted murder Friday.
The first-degree felony was filed against Alicia Marie Englert, 23, of Kearns, in 3rd District Court.
The newborn girl was found by a neighbor in an outside trash can, with trash on top of her, on Aug. 26. The neighbor heard noises she thought were coming from a cat. Instead, the neighbor found a child inside the trash can born just two days earlier.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said Englert gave birth at midnight inside a bathroom toilet in her house, 5313 S. 5420 West, on Aug. 24, and then essentially ignored the child.
"The defendant admitted to detectives that she wanted the baby’s death to occur because 'I don’t want it,'" charging documents state. "The defendant said she provided no care to the baby from the time of birth."
Gill said after the baby was born, Englert wrapped her in a blanket and went to bed. She later left the newborn on her bedroom floor for a day while she went to work. The baby was not fed or cared for during that time, Gill said.
Englert lives with her parents. Gill said her bedroom is in the basement and the infant apparently was not detected by anyone else in the house. Gill declined to speculate Friday whether investigators believe someone else may have been aware of the pregnancy.
About 5:45 a.m. on Aug. 26, Englert placed the infant in her neighbor's trash can, placed the trash she had removed on top of her, and then went to work, according to charging documents.
"She admitted she knew that not providing any care for the baby and discarding the baby in a garbage can was wrong, but said she didn’t want her parents to 'freak out' or to know that she’d been pregnant and delivered a baby," the charges state.
Based on the totality of the situation, Gill said, he believes attempted murder is the appropriate charge.
"We're looking at what the facts and the evidence are. We have a child who is compromised, who is not taken care of who is not fed, who is in a compromised capacity and the child is put in a garbage can and not having been fed since the time the child was born. And so based on all of the totality of the information that has been presented, and the admissions that have been subsequently been made, that warrants the filing of the charges that we have," he said.
The baby was originally taken to Pioneer Valley Hospital where doctors determined she suffered from "hypothermia, severe respiratory distress, a bleeding disorder caused by critical illness, a blood-borne infection, and cardiovascular insufficiency requiring mechanical ventilation," according to court records. The newborn was then transferred to Primary Children's Hospital.
The baby remained hospitalized Friday but had been upgraded to fair condition, Unified police announced. The child is in state custody, but a spokeswoman with the Division of Child and Family Services said the agency is not allowed to comment on the baby's current situation, stating only that "our hope is the child improves and is able to quickly be living in a safe, permanent home."
As of Friday, Gill said investigators had not identified who the child's father is.
Englert claimed to investigators that she did not know she was pregnant, Gill said. But investigators spoke to a 7-Eleven clerk who worked near Englert's home and claimed that she had conversations with Englert about her pregnancy in July.
"The defendant told (the clerk) that her due date was in August and had additional conversation about pregnancy and delivery" with the clerk, according to court documents.
Speaking to reporters before his daughter was charged, Robert Englert, Alicia's father, said his daughter has "special needs" and did not understand her actions.
"She doesn't process things correctly," he said. "She didn't know what to do. She was confused. She was scared."
He said the family never knew she was pregnant or that she had given birth until her arrest. He said his daughter "complained of bad cramps" two days before the baby was discovered and left a bloody "mess" in an upstairs bathroom.
Gill said issues of possible mental illness will be addressed "as we go forward." For now, he said based on the facts of the case, those issues are not relevant to the charge that was filed.
Englert remained in the Salt Lake County Jail Friday. Bail was raised to $500,000.
According to court documents, she will be represented in court by Melissa Fulkerson and Susanne Gustin. If convicted, she faces a potential sentence of three years to life in prison.
Contributing: Nkoyo Iyamba
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