KEARNS, Utah — Utah authorities have arrested a 23-year-old woman who they say dumped her newborn baby in a neighbor’s trash can.
Unified Police in Salt Lake City said in a statement that Alicia Marie Englert was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of attempted murder.
The baby was found Tuesday by a woman who heard what she thought was a kitten meowing. The girl is in critical condition.
Police say she was born Monday. They don’t think she has received any medical care or food.
A Utah state law allows mothers to drop off newborns at hospitals without consequences.
Authorities said they don’t have any information about where the mother gave birth or why she may have left the baby in the trash can.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
A newborn baby was in extremely critical condition Tuesday after her 24-year-old mother left her in a neighbor’s trash can in Utah, a state that allows mothers to drop off newborns at hospitals without consequences, police and health officials said.
A woman heard what she thought was a kitten meowing in the trash bin in the Salt Lake City suburb of Kearns on Tuesday morning and found the baby, Unified Police Detective Jared Richardson said.
Richardson says the girl was airlifted to a hospital in Salt Lake City, where she’s now on a ventilator and fighting for her life.
Her mother, who was being questioned by police, later returned and told officers she had left the baby about an hour before the child was found.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder, who oversees the Unified Police Department, said authorities believe the baby girl was born Sunday.
Winder said at a news conference that investigators did not have any information about where the mother gave birth or why she may have left the baby in the trash can.
“We had a young lady make a very, very terrible decision,” he said.
Police would decide whether to arrest the mother after interviewing her, Winder said. Generally, anyone who abandons a child can face felony charges, in addition to any abuse or neglect charges, he said.
There were no visible injuries to the child and no information about the child’s father, Winder said.
At the news conference, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams and health officials listed resources available for expectant and new mothers, including a crisis hotline and the state’s safe haven law, which allows mothers to leave newborns at hospitals, no questions asked.
A handful of infants are dropped off at Utah hospitals under the safe haven law every year, said Al Romeo with the Utah Department of Health.
It’s not common for a mother to abandon a child in a trash can or other unsafe place, but there have been a few cases over the past 10 years, he said.
Romeo cited the discovery in April of seven dead newborn babies in the garage of a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Police believe the mother killed six of the infants after giving birth to them over a decade. A seventh baby is believed to have been stillborn.