The father of the woman accused of dumping her baby in a Kearns trash can says his daughter suffers from a learning disability that prevents her from comprehending the significance of her actions.
"She doesn’t even realize that it’s a crime and it’s bad," said Robert Englert, whose 23-year-old daughter, Alicia Marie Englert, has been in the Salt Lake County jail since Tuesday night. "Even when the police were taking her to jail, she thought they were taking her to her room."
Robert Englert recovered his daughter’s newborn baby girl about 7 a.m. Tuesday from a trash can near 5300 South and 5200 West after neighbors had heard the baby whimpering. Englert was unaware of his daughter’s pregnancy and says he has no idea who the father is.
Unified Police Sgt. Ken Hansen said the child, who appeared to have had no medical care at all since her hidden home birth sometime between late Sunday night and early Monday morning, remained in the intensive infant care unit of Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.
"She’s still critical today, and she likely will remain in that condition for at least the next few days," Hansen said Wednesday, adding it likely would be this weekend before doctors know if she will survive.
Hansen said the baby does not yet have a name.
Meanwhile, the infant’s mother was being held without bail on suspicion of second-degree felony attempted homicide.
"It would be nice if somehow somebody could get her a mental evaluation, so she doesn’t get put in the jail with everybody else and gets beat up or something happens to her," said Robert Englert, adding that his daughter reads at a third-grade level, cannot spell and has difficulty comprehending even simple concepts.
Unified Police Department Detective Jared Richardson said Wednesday that while investigators were aware of the claims from Englert’s parents, they had "no medical evidence" of Alicia Englert having any developmental disabilities at this time.
Police have learned where Englert gave birth to the girl, but are not releasing the location yet, citing the ongoing investigation, Richardson told The Associated Press on Wednesday. He said police hope to forward the case to prosecutors within two days, so charges could be filed. Richardson said he had no information about the child’s father.
Not long after the baby was found, Englert’s parents began to suspect her of being the birth mother and called her home from her work at an Enterprise car location in downtown Salt Lake City, her father said.
After being advised of her Miranda rights, Englert allegedly confessed.
"[She] admitted to having the baby the day prior. She also admitted to not providing any medical care or food for the baby. [She said] she was afraid to tell her parents about her pregnancy," according to a probable-cause statement filed with the jail.
According to jail records, Englert is 5-foot-1 and weighs 135 pounds.
"[Englert] said she discarded the baby in hopes that it would die and solve her problems," the probable-cause statement notes.
Earlier, investigators said that in addition to initial starvation and lack of care, the infant’s umbilical cord had not been properly cut. No further details on the baby’s condition were released, though Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder did say Tuesday that there were no obvious signs of blunt-force trauma.
The baby has been placed in the protective custody of the Utah Division of Child and Family Services.
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