KEARNS, Utah – A baby who was found in a garbage can and then taken to a hospital in critical condition last month has improved to fair condition Friday, and her mother has been formally charged with one count of attempted murder.
Officers responded to a home near 5300 South and 5200 West August 26 and found the baby, who was born two days prior and had allegedly not received any food or care prior to being found in the garbage. The child had been listed in critical condition since being found, but Friday officials said the child was upgraded to fair condition.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said 23-year-old Alicia Englert's confession and a number of other factors clearly show intent and warrant the attempted murder charge.
"The defendant admitted and knew that she did not care for the child, that she placed it in the garbage can," Gill said.
Alicia's father, Robert Englert, declined an on-camera interview but spoke with FOX 13 News' Gene Kennedy over the phone Friday. Robert Englert said he is frustrated about how long it took authorities to file a formal charge and said he hasn't yet been allowed to visit his daughter. He said he thinks the attempted murder charge is too harsh given his daughter's mental state.
Gill said Englert claims she didn't know she was pregnant until the birth, but prosecutors allege Englert spoke about the pregnancy with a 7-Eleven clerk. Englert's parents stated last month they were unaware of the pregnancy.
According to a declaration of probable cause, Englert told officers she had hid her pregnancy from her parents, who she was living with, and she told police she put the child in the trash in the hope it would die and her problem would go away. The document states Englert wrapped the baby in a towel and left it on the floor after the delivery and went to bed. The next day she left the baby on the floor and went to work, and on the following morning she put the baby in a neighbor's trash can.
"This child was born in the bathroom, was wrapped and then secreted in her bedroom," Gill said. "She left the child there for a day and did not feed it."
The document states Englert stated "I don't want it" when explaining why she put the baby in the trash. She allegedly admitted that she knew not providing care for the baby and then putting it in the trash was wrong but did so because she didn't want her parents to "freak out."
In the wake of the incident, officials have tried to create greater awareness of Utah's "Safe Haven" law, which allows mothers to anonymously place their child for adoption without legal consequences. Click here for more information.
The identify of the child's father is unknown.
Further details regarding the infant's condition when found were revealed in the statement of probable cause. A statement from an emergency room physician indicates the child had a low core body temperature and was covered in feces when she was found. The child was suffering from hypothermia, severe respiratory distress, a bleeding disorder caused by critical illness, a blood-borne infection, and cardiovascular insufficiency that required mechanical ventilation.
A statement from a neonatal intensive care physician indicated the baby also suffered from sepsis relating to an infection, pulmonary hypertension, respiratory distress, hypoxic-ischemic brain injury and metabolic acidosis. Medical experts stated they were not sure if the baby would survive, and the document stated that the doctor felt, "the baby's medical conditions were likely caused by the history of unattended birth at home followed by approximately 36 hours of no medical or other care and being deposited in a garbage can without any protection."
A doctor stated the baby will be at an increased risk for developmental problems because of the combination of conditions she suffered. A child abuse pediatrician stated the child would likely have died if not brought in for medical care.
Englert remains in the Salt Lake County Jail, though her bail has been increased from $250,000 to $500,000 and is cash only. She is expected to be in court next week. Englert’s parents spoke with FOX 13 News after her arrest and said their daughter has a learning disability, click here for more details.
Gil said it will be up to the courts to determine Englert's mental state and that he based his decision to file the charge on the facts of the case.
Posts made by Englert on social media and images on websites appear to show her drinking alcohol and partying during the same time she was pregnant.