WEST JORDAN, UT (WCMH) – A Utah couple is facing murder charges in the death of a 13-day-old baby.
Police and paramedics responded to a home in West Jordan on Sept. 17 when the couple reported the infant had stopped breathing. The couple told police that the child made grunting and gasping noises before he stopped breathing. First responders pronounced him dead at the scene.
“They engaged in life-saving measures, and subsequently they were not able to revive the child who was found in the mess,” said Salt Lake County attorney Sim Gill.
Police and paramedics said they saw bruising around the infant’s eyes, shoulder and arm. The infant also had an ear injury.
The infant was in the care of Dylan Kitzmiller, 21, and Maria Elana Sullivan, 26. The boy was born with no known medical conditions on Sept. 4, according to court documents obtained by KSL.
Kitzmiller had been watching the child most of the night during a family gathering. At some point after Sullivan returned home, the child stopped breathing.
“What was reported was that the child was moaning and then he started to gasp for breath, and it was presented like this happened all of the sudden,” Gill said.
According to the arrest affidavit, Kitzmiller was sometimes rough with the baby when he was angry. Documents state he even flipped the infant into the air at least once. Prosecutors say Sullivan still continued to leave the infant in Kitzmiller’s care and never sought medical attention, despite being aware of signs of abuse.
An autopsy of the child revealed the child had lost about 14% of his body mass since birth. The report also said the child had a fractured arm that appeared to be recent, a broken rib, an injured spinal cord and severe injuries to the brain.
According to KSL, Kitzmiller told police both he and Sullivan used heroin the night the infant died.
Kitzmiller and Sullivan are both charged with murder and three counts of child abuse.