KEARNS, Utah — A newborn baby girl was expected to remain in critical condition for several days after Utah police say her mother dumped her in a neighbor’s trash can in a Salt Lake City suburb.
The 2-day-old girl was still on a ventilator and fighting for her life in a hospital, Unified Police Detective Jared Richardson said Wednesday. The girl’s mother, 23-year-old Alicia Marie Englert, was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of attempted murder.
Englert told authorities that she hid the pregnancy from her parents and hoped the newborn girl would die in the trash and solve her problems, according to a probable cause statement. The mother told police the baby had been in the trash for about an hour before she was found. The baby had not received any medical care or food, police said.
Jail records show Englert was still in the Salt Lake County Jail on Wednesday. It was unclear if she had an attorney.
A neighbor in the Salt Lake City suburb of Kearns discovered the baby Tuesday morning when she mistook her cries for a kitten meowing in the trash bin, police said. The baby girl was airlifted to a hospital.
Police have learned where Englert gave birth to the girl but are not releasing the location yet, citing the ongoing investigation, Richardson said Wednesday.
Police hoped to forward the case to local prosecutors within two days so charges could be filed, Richardson said.
He had no information about the child’s father or the woman’s family.
On Tuesday, Utah officials held a news conference to remind residents that the state allows mothers to drop off newborns at hospitals without consequences.
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. Romeo said there have been a handful of cases over the past decade where Utah mothers abandoned babies in unsafe places.
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.