WEST JORDAN — A West Jordan couple have been charged with murder in the death of a newborn boy who only lived only 13 days.
Maria Elena Sullivan, 26, and Dylan James Kitzmiller, 21, each were charged Friday in 3rd District Court with murder, a first-degree felony, and three counts of child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury, a second-degree felony.
Prosecutors have issued $1 million arrest warrants for Sullivan and Kitzmiller.
The boy was born Sept. 4 with no known medical problem, court documents state. Sullivan was living with Kitzmiller at the time in the basement of one of Kitzmiller's relatives.
On Sept. 17, emergency crews were called to the house because the infant was in full arrest, the charges state. The child made "grunting" and "gasping" noises before he stopped breathing, the couple told police. The infant was pronounced dead at the scene.
Both police and medical crews saw "bruising around the infant's eyes," his shoulder and his arm, as well as an injury to his ear, charges state.
When interviewed by detectives, Sullivan said she had called a friend that night to say "she needed a way to get away from Kitzmiller's abuse" of her and her child, according to court documents.
Sullivan later told police that Kitzmiller was "using heroin every day" and was "rough" when he picked up the baby, charges state.
When Kitzmiller became angry, he would grab the infant "by the shoulder, causing his head to flip, and throw the newborn baby up in the air," according to court documents. He also slapped and bit the young child, charges state.
But prosecutors also noted that Sullivan "continued to leave (the boy) in Kitzmiller's care" and "never sought medical care" for him despite being aware of the bruises and marks.
Kitzmiller told police that both he and Sullivan used heroin on the day of the boy's death, charges state.6 comments on this story
An autopsy revealed the infant lost weight during his short life, going from 5 pounds at birth to 4 pounds at the time of his death, according to court documents, "a loss of about 14 percent of his body mass."
An autopsy also revealed a fractured arm that appeared to be a "fresh" injury, a broken rib and an injured spinal cord, charges state.
Furthermore, the infant's "brain was severely injured" and swollen, according to charging documents. The preliminary cause of death was determined to be severe brain injuries, court records state.