Utah woman charged in death of her infant son extradited, booked into jail

(Courtesy Cherokee County Sheriff's Office) Georgia police on Oct. 22 arrested Maria Sullivan on suspicion of child abuse charges stemming from a Utah homicide investigation.

A Utah woman who fled the state after she was accused of killing her infant son in September has been extradited and was booked into the Salt Lake County jail on Thursday.

Maria Elena Sullivan, 26, and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Dylan Kitzmiller were charged Oct. 20 in connection with the death of Sullivan’s 2-week-old baby.

On Oct. 22, Sullivan was arrested after turning up at a hospital in Georgia, where her parents live, according to Cherokee County, Ga., Sheriff‘s Office Sgt. Marianne Kelley.

Staff at Northside Cherokee Hospital were alarmed when Sullivan reportedly made “concerning statements,” Kelley said. The staff called the police, who discovered the Utah arrest warrant for Sullivan. Kelley did not elaborate on why Sullivan was in the hospital.

Sullivan — who lived with Kitzmiller in the basement of his mother’s West Jordan home — is charged in Utah’s 3rd District Court with first-degree felony murder, three counts of second-degree felony child abuse and second-degree felony endangerment of a child.

Kitzmiller has been charged with first-degree murder and three counts of second-degree felony child abuse. He was booked into jail on Oct. 21.

Sullivan is scheduled to make her initial appearance before a judge on Friday morning. Kitzmiller has a scheduling hearing next week.

The baby was born on Sept. 4, according to charging documents. On Sept. 17, police pronounced the infant dead.

An official cause of death is pending further tests, but the preliminary cause appears to be severe brain injuries, charges state.

An autopsy revealed abrasions and bruises all over the baby’s body, as well as broken bones, according to charging documents. A medical examiner also found hemorrhaging in the infant’s brain and a spinal cord injury.

During a search of the basement bedroom where Sullivan and Kitzmiller lived, police found clothing — both adult and baby — that appeared to have blood stains on them, according charges.

Sullivan told police the infant had seemed tired but happy the morning of Sept. 17. He started moaning later in the day and was left downstairs with Kitzmiller while Sullivan had brunch upstairs with Kitzmiller’s mother.

In the afternoon, Sullivan and the infant took a nap, and the baby seemed “uncomfortable” when they woke up. The baby was given drops for stomach gas and it seemed to soothe him, charges state.

Later in the evening, Sullivan left Kitzmiller in charge of the baby while she went outside to call a friend. She needed to “get away from Kitzmiller‘s abuse,” she reportedly told her friend.

When she went back downstairs, Kitzmiller was moving the baby’s legs in “a rough weird bicycle thing,” charges state. She put the baby to bed. He started moaning, and she fell asleep. She woke when she heard the baby gasp for air, she told police, and called 911 when the baby stopped breathing.

Sullivan told police that Kitzmiller was generally rough with the infant, “though she continued to leave [the baby] in Kitzmiller‘s care,” charges state. She also said she was aware of the bruises and marks on the child but never sought medical care, charges state.

She described Kitzmiller throwing the baby in the air and said he once held his hand over the baby’s mouth and nose to stop the infant’s cries. She also reported that Kizmiller once slapped the baby’s face, and that he would bite the baby’s hands, charges state.

She also told police she had learned Kitzmiller was using heroin every day.

Kitzmiller told police that Sullivan and his mother had yelled at him for being too rough with the baby. He also said he and Sullivan used heroin in the child’s presence on Sept. 17.

Kitzmiller told police that Sullivan did not cause the baby’s injuries, charges state.

The couple are each being held on $1 million bail, cash-only.