Utah mother who left baby in hot car will not face charges

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HURRICANE, Utah - The mother of an infant who died after being left in a hot car earlier this month will not face criminal charges. That’s the decision of the Washington County Attorney, who said the facts don’t support conviction.

County Attorney Brock Belnap released his decisions and findings Wednesday and said it was a tough case to consider, especially given the way it’s divided the community.

Then 11-month-old Skyah Suwyn died after being left in a hot car on August 1. Belnap's findings indicate Skyah’s mother, April, was suffering from lack of sleep and a change in routine, which led to what he’s called a “tragic accident.”

“Looking very carefully at the science of underlying memory lapse,” Belanp said. “And the evidence of what happened, to April under those particular circumstances that she was in, we concluded that she didn’t engage in any conscious act of wrongdoing.”

Belnap said his office consulted with FBI behavioral specialists on the subject of memory lapse and weighed the situation against the purposes of criminal prosecution, namely restitution, retribution and incarceration. He said none of those purposes would be served by prosecuting April Suwyn.

“Especially in light of the fact that she has suffered such a terrible loss in the death of her child,” Belnap said.  “We take great care in fulfilling our duty to look at the case on an individual basis, and make sure justice is served, and we believe we have done that in this case.”

The news comes as a shock to some who have been critical of April's actions and say they can’t understand how someone could forget their child, but it’s likely a relief to friends and neighbors who have stood by the Suwyn family ever since that tragic day and have been very outspoken about what a good mother April is.

Read the full report from the Washington County Attorney

Related stories:

Child who died in hot car would have turned 1 Friday, parents speak at memorial event

Update: Strangers donate thousands to Hurricane family after baby dies in hot car

52 comments

    • Lindsey

      It appears to be just you. Did you read the report from the county attorney? It very clearly points out that it was nothing more than a complete lapse of memory in her brain due to a lack of sleep (which came from being up with the teething baby for hours at a time during the night…. ever done that? Not easy to function on little to no restful sleep.), stress, and a change in routine. It’s literally not something she could have wished her way out of. That’s a far cry from intentionally leaving an animal in the car.

    • Lisa

      It’s definitely just you. We are absolutely not. People are just trying to get animals the basic rights of any of God’s living creatures to not be tortured and murdered and every day tens of thousands of animals are still, beaten, maimed, tortured and murdered slow horrific deaths at the hands of “human” beings. This mother apparently did not mean to cause her child harm. We, as a species intentionally do horrific things to living, feeling creations of God.
      Apparently you don’t have a clue.
      Example:
      Baby gets left in car intentionally, parent gets charged with murder = serious jail time if convicted.
      Dog gets left in car intentionally, owner gets animal cruelty, at best = most likely gets a fine and MAYBE probation.
      What are your grounds for your statement?
      I try to keep having faith that their is hope for our species then I read stuff like what just fell out of your brain.
      FYI, all creatures lives are equally valuable. They feel pain and emotion just as we do. You’re a disgusting excuse for a person if you don’t think all life should be valued.
      I’m really beginning to despise humans…

  • Hyrum Justice

    I don’t believe it. She left her precious little girl in her car to bake to death because she was sleepy and she will walk free? Through her callous indifference to her own flesh and blood she has killed this poor little girl that could not act on her own. If only her little girl had the same protection as she is getting! I smell the death of justice and it is rooted in gender and possibly religious bias. The law of the land screams for justice for this little darling life that was killed by her own mothers indifference. I had custody of one of my daughters and I NEVER would have left her alone. Our children are a precious gift and we strive to protect them. Not leave them in a hot car to bake to death!

  • T

    So glad she is not going to have charges pressed against her!!! Yay!
    God forbid any of these people leaving such harsh comments have ever or will ever make a mistake with their kids that they regret. This will haunt her for the rest of her life and there is absolutely no other history of any kind of neglect. It was a mistake playing and simple and a severely devastating one for the family and community. She is in my prayers.

    • Doug Hartill

      She was responsible for the death of her child. She needs to pay the price according to the rules of the land. Mercy when applied inconsistently is not mercy at all.

      • Mea

        Excuse you, but they had NOTHING to do with getting all of that money. People of the community did a fundraiser for them without them even asking. They didn’t ask for the money, they didn’t ask for people to be rude or nice. When this happens to your children, tell us. Tell us if you are innocent. She made a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes. Get over it, if you want to judge, judge. Just leave their family be. They’ve been through enough.

    • K N

      So tell me then, if she was driving with her precious little girl in the back seat and another driver approaching them, who was tired due to change of schedule, crossed the yellow line, crashed into her car, and killed the baby, that mother would want that driver charged. And that driver would be charged. However, when this mother uses the same excuse that many drivers who crash into others (killing them) uses, we just say, “Oh, she is just too tired. Her schedule changed so she can’t be held responsible.” Are you kidding me? I have 4 kids (boys) so I know what a tired mother is. I homeschool the older 3 while still taking care of all of my other wife/mother responsibilities. I am tired ALL THE TIME!!! But I have never, ever left any of my children in the car! This poor baby suffered for who knows how long. She was cooked to death. What a terrible way to die. And all because her mom was tired. If she is such a good mom as her friends and family say, she would have thought to take care of this poor baby before worrying about taking a nap! This is sickening! What has this world come to?

      • Lisa

        There’s a difference between tired and exhaustion. When some people are exhausted they run on autopilot. Throw a change in routine into it and the autopilot has no idea it needs to adjust. She’ll be tortured for the rest of her life. Hell, she may even kill herself. The law wouldn’t give her any of a harsher sentence than having to live with what happened.
        BTW, not your self-righteous place to judge. Leave that to God like He told you to.

    • Jessica

      But the retarded mother who’s child survived as well has no clue as to what’s going on, faces charges? I hope this mom finds the courage to forget herself in the car and quickly before summer is over bc we never hear of a crappy parent forgetting their child in the car during the winter now do we????

  • meeeee!

    You people commenting about how horrible this is need to read the report. Since when did we put more importance on vengence versus justice? Since when did YOU decide that a person who is blameless of consciously causing harm or neglect become a criminal? Since when do we decide that extenuating circumstances get tossed aside to appease the blood-thirsty commenting trolls?

    • Doug Hartill

      Rules of law are in place for a reason. Justice in our society, is a necessity to keep order. While it is a good thing to be merciful, who are we to apply mercy in a civil setting? How is the baby going to get justice? Her life was cut short due to the negligence of her mother. There are no circumstances that should excuse the negligence in the death of a baby.

      • Trish Ramirez

        You are totally right. In this state, though, there is a huge justice double standard. If you can prove that you are good little member of the local predominant faith, paid up on your tithing, you can get away with a lot. Especially if they can call it an ‘accident.’

        There are no accidents when it come to raising your children. You either watch them or you don’t, neglect them or not.

        How many other parents in this state have faced charges for far smaller issues? A child lost her life – where is HER justice?

        It looks like negligent moms all over the state can get a free pass – just ‘accidentally’ cook their children and then cry about not having felt well for a few days prior.

        Then have a fundraiser.

        Good grief.

    • Jessica

      She needs to face charges just like EVERY other parent that was arrested and charged for “forgetting” their child in the car. Even the retarded mom in SLC is facing charges and her kid is alive! There’s no pass for social status and class! She’s a rotten person!

  • Debbra Gibilterra Brissette

    she should have atleast been charge with child endangerment or child neglect. I am not saying she should do jail time but she should not have gotten off scott free their has to be some accountability here. I swear i sometimes think if you live in Utah and you are mormon you can get away with anything . if this would have been me and my family they would have thrown the book at us. being sleep deprived is no excuse to forget about your child. i am sorry if this upsets people but its the truth

  • danniegurl2

    First of all, a drunk driver killing someone knows they are not supposed to be driving drunk in the first place. No it doesn’t make them a bad person, but they choose to take the keys and start the car after drinking too much. She had a lot on her mind, and yes, even though it is totally horrible, she forgot her child. Second of all, as a mother myself, I totally feel so much empathy and compassion for her. After having a baby, you do get so forgetful especially when you get out of routine. Luckily, I have never forgotten my kids in the car, but there are so many other things that are important that I have forgotten. Unfortunately it happens, but in this case it did cause a life, and I cannot imagine what pain and guilt this mother is going through. I just wish that some other people would show a little more compassion toward this mother. Her life will never be the same because of this, and she doesn’t need all this negativity to add onto it. What happened to being Christlike? I’m sorry to those who may not be christian, but I was raised to show a little compassion towards people because we never truly understand the situation and what people are going through. I probably won’t read any other comments on here, so there really is no point in writing anything negative about what I have to say because I probably won’t see it anyway. Just don’t be so negative about something you don’t understand.

    • Doug Hartill

      We can show compassion when she answers and pays the civil penalty for neglecting her child. She may be remorseful and I feel bad for her and her family, but it does not give that baby any justice. Her life was cut down due to the actions of her mother. She may feel bad, and I get that, but we have laws and penalties for a reason. She was responsible for her child dying and should pay the price.

      • Randy Toone

        We have laws and penalties for a reason, yes, but do you really think this mother isn’t going to be paying for this for the rest of her life? Those of us hiding behind keyboards don’t know this mother. We don’t know what was going through her mind then or now. We don’t know the pain and anguish she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life. I can’t imagine losing a child. The prosecutor hopefully knows something about laws and penalties and when justice for a mistake doesn’t need to include criminal or civil charges. I’m guessing he knows more about the case than any of us commenting about it here, also, so before we all rush to judgment, let’s pause and let the people who know all the facts of the case and who are tasked with making those decisions do so.

      • Doug Hartill

        Randy…Why are we picking and choosing the laws in which we apply to our citizens. The rule of law applies to everyone equally and should not be applied in some cases but not others.

    • John

      So if she was drunk and left the baby in the car, would you then be for prosecution. If so would her prescription drug abuse also fall into that same category?

    • Rea

      I have 5 children. No I’m not perfect in any way. But not one time did I forget one of my kids in the car. If your that tired you shouldn’t even be driving. Find someone to help you.

  • Karen

    Sick sick sick. All about religion power. If that case, this mother can’t take care of her kids. DON”T make babies anymore. She should stay in the hot car for hours how that feel. baby killer!!

  • concerned mom

    I Got sent to jail for 2hrs and was almost charged with four counts of domestic violence because my ex boyfriend was trying to get into a window in my house. I called the cops cause I had 2 children in the house. He fell into the bush so the cops showed up and wrote a statement about me physically harming him and completed a false report….I’m going into the medical field so this greatly concerned me …by the end of the day I was able to get all of the charges dropped because he came clean and told the truth but when are we going to start applying the law why does it have to be so back and forth and why do they pick and choose who to prosecute

  • Nic

    this is happenig way to often in th last couple of years these ppl need to be put away in a celltoshw that it is unexeptabe to the rest of the phycos

  • John

    She killed her child. I don’t care if it was premeditated, negligence or she was abusing prescription medication, an infant is dead because of her. Unconscionable that there are no charges filed. absolutely disgusting there was support for this murderer and she made money for her negligence. Horrific!

  • Sheila

    I am surprised. I figured they would at least formally charge her with the class C misdemeanor of leaving a child unattended and then end up dropping the charges altogether in the end. That seems more ‘fair’ to me than not charging her at all. It’s just weird that the common belief amongst those that claim to know her is that she is suffering enough already. So…they’d be all for charging her if the baby HADN’T died? I doubt that’d be the case. Makes you wonder at what point she actually ‘learned her lesson’.

  • The Voice of Reason

    This is horrible, obviously cause shes Mormon and pays her tithings to the church and makes excuses about how she was tired she gets away with murder…. I hate Utah and its backwards laws hopefully karma will catch up with her one day

  • Jerry Conservative

    What was this woman doing that caused her so-called “memory lapse”? You don’t forget your kids, EVER. April Suwyn needs to be tried for negligent homicide of a child.

  • Tonya

    So a poor innocent baby girl is dead and she get’s to walk away, how pathetic. She deserves to be in jail and should not be able to continue to parent her other children. I would hate for other “accidents” to happen to them! This would have been a completely different case had she been black or Hispanic, but because she is a white Mormon she get’s to walk away. Our justice system is horrible!!

  • whats going on

    they should take her other children away from her,obviously she cant remember she even has kids.

  • Hinley

    She should have been charged with something. Hearing the news this evening makes me sad and I have to question whether or not religion played a part in this decision. I don’t think she should have had jail time, but she should have had to plea to something. It was criminally negligent what she did. She should have had, at the very least, some type of probation. And maybe child protection services even doing periodic checks in her home. If she was THAT tired then maybe something is wrong. Maybe she needs help. And everyone applauding this decision and condemning those of us who disagree are just wrong. I understand she is facing grief that most of us can’t even comprehend, but she was negligent and she killed her child due to her negligence. That is not being judgmental. It is simply a fact.

    • Lisa

      I’m a little naive about why everyone is so convinced she’s Mormon and that’s why she wasn’t charged. I don’t see that in the article. Where does that assumption come from?

  • priscilla

    Seriously, I hope the mom of this gorgeous baby girl dies the same way.
    Yes it’s harsh for me to say but she didn’t “forget” the baby was in the car when a baby is always #1 on a mom’s mind no matter what. Lack of sleep or not I hope this mom rots and hope she don’t ever have another baby or be alone with anyone else’s kids or babies.

  • Amy

    What about people who accidentally back over their children? Or the kid falls out of a boat and drowns? Or some other kind of tragedy? I for one can’t judge. It’s not my place. My heart breaks for any parent who loses a child, whether by neglect or accident. I’m not going to persecute someone for extenuating circumstances. ALL parents are neglectful at one time or another. It’s not an evil thing, it’s a human one.

Comments are closed.