Unlicensed midwife pleads no contest, gets 72 months probation

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SALT LAKE CITY — An unlicensed midwife pleaded no contest, Tuesday, on charges brought against her stemming from the death of a newborn and near-death of a mother during a birth she attended to last year in Moab.

Valerie El Halta, 71, of Eagle Mountain, was charged with unlawful conduct, negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. Investigators said the woman misled the mother by claiming to be a licensed midwife when she wasn’t. The incident occurred in August of 2012.

The negligent homicide charge was dropped and El Halta pleaded no contest to unlawful conduct, class A misdemeanor, and reckless endangerment, also a class A misdemeanor.

Court documents state that El Halta did a variety of things that led to the baby’s death and the near death of the mother, including giving the mother illegal prescription medications and performing medical procedures she was not licensed to do.

El Halta was sentenced to 72 months probation and was ordered to pay $78,700 in restitution.