Utah woman accused of shaking her 23-day-old baby to death

The infant suffered brain hemorrhages and broken ribs.

A Utah woman is accused of shaking her infant son to death.

Tawna Steed, 32, of Beaver, was charged in 5th District Court with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony.

According to the Beaver County Sheriff’s Office, medical personnel arrived at Steed’s home on Sept. 19 to find the infant, who was 23 days old, not breathing. The child died a short time later at the Beaver Valley Hospital.

The state medical examiner’s office conducted an autopsy and ruled the baby’s death a homicide. According to a probable cause statement, a pathologist said the boy had multiple rib fractures that occurred on at least two occasions and two brain hemorrhages, which were likely caused by someone shaking the child or blunt force trauma.

Both Steed and the baby’s father told police they were the only ones who had cared for the child, with the exception of one or two brief times. Both parents denied that they had hurt the child, and each said they had not seen the other parent do so. According to the probable cause statement, the father “was very emotional at times, crying and putting his head into his hands.” Steed “never cried or became upset during the interview.”

Police arrested Steed and questioned the boy’s father a second time. He then said he had seen Steed shake the baby two different times. The first time, he walked into their apartment to find Steed sitting on the bed “shaking the baby vigorously … and grabbing it tightly across the chest” while yelling, “Stupid baby… stop crying.” The father said he yelled at Steed and took the baby from her. The child “seemed to be stunned a little but got better” after he took him outside.

The second time, the father said he walked in on Steed standing and shaking the baby. Once again, he took the infant, comforting him. On both occasions, he left the apartment and took the baby to his parents’ house.

Steed was booked into the Beaver County jail, where she is being held without bail.