Family Crimes

Couple Arrested After Death Of 13-Day-Old Infant Who Suffered Spinal Cord Injury

His brain was swollen and injured, his arm was fractured, one of his ribs was broken, and he'd lost weight. 

A Utah woman and her boyfriend were arrested after their 13-day-old son died from what appears to be significant physical abuse, KCRA-TV reported.

Maria Elena Sullivan, 26, and Dylan James Kitzmiller, 21, were charged with murder and child abuse in the death of the boy, who was born Sept. 4 with no known medical problems.

On Sept. 17, the infant began grunting. When emergency responders arrived at the house the boy took a last gasp and stopped breathing.

An autopsy showed that his brain was swollen and injured, his arm was fractured, one of his ribs was broken, and his spinal cord was injured at the time of his death. He also had lost 14 percent of his body weight since birth.

The couple was living in the basement of Kitzmiller’s mother’s house outside Salt Lake City.

Officials said that Sullivan did not physically abuse the boy, but allowed her boyfriend to abuse him without attempting to stop him, KCRA reported.

She allegedy told police that her boyfriend was often “rough” when handling the baby, and that once he slapped the child’s face and bit his hands.

On the morning of her son’s death, Sullivan allegedly said she saw Kitzmiller moving the infant’s legs in “a rough weird bicycle thing.”

“Both of them were charged because the girlfriend indicated that there was a level of abuse that was going on, she was aware of this abuse, and she took no steps to stop this or to take the child to safety,” said District Attorney Sim Gill to a local Fox station.

Sullivan was arrested in Georgia after she made comments to hospital staff that alarmed them, People magazine reported. Kitzmiller was arrested the previous Friday.

Police did not say why Sullivan was in Georgia. She is being held there without bond and facing extradition.

Kitzmiller is being held at Salt Lake County Jail on $1 million bond.

[Image: Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office]

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