Utah Mom Wanted in Murder of Newborn Son Arrested in Georgia
A Utah mother wanted in the murder of her 13-day-old infant was arrested on Sunday in Georgia, KUTV reported.
Police had stated earlier that Maria Sullivan might be in Georgia because she has family there.
Sullivan was in a hospital where officials learned that there was a warrant for her arrest, according to Georgia police spokeswoman Sgt. Marianne Kelley.
Sullivan was arrested as she was discharged from the hospital and was being booked into a jail when police announced her arrest.
Sullivan, 26, and her husband Dylan James Kitzmiller, 21, were charged on Oct. 20 with first-degree murder and three counts of child abuse as second-degree felonies in connection to the death of their son, Fox News reported. Warrants were issued for their arrests on the same day.
Police allege that Kitzmiller regularly abused the child and that Sullivan failed to report the abuse and did not seek treatment for the injuries.
It is unknown how Georgia hospital officials learned that Sullivan was wanted, Kelley said, but the woman may have disclosed something to hospital staff. A part-time deputy from Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office notified police about Sullivan around 2:15 p.m. on Sunday.
Police arrested Kitzmiller on Saturday, KUTV reported.
Authorities have evidence that Kitzmiller abused the infant, according to Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.
“There were statements that the child was being handled roughly by the arm and shoulder. That Kitzmiller would throw the baby up in the air, catch him in the air,” Gill said. “The girlfriend indicated there was a level of abuse going on. She was aware of this abuse. She took no steps to stop this or to take the child to safety.”
A medical examiner determined that the baby boy had lost one pound of his birth weight in 13 days, had a spinal fracture, a broken rib, massive swelling of the brain, and scratches and bruises.
On the day the infant died, Sullivan was on the phone talking about how she wanted to “get away from Kitzmiller’s abuse.” During the call, Kitzmiller was taking care of the child by himself.
After the call, the mother went downstairs and saw her baby wearing only a diaper and Kitzmiller moving the infant’s legs “in a rough weird bicycle thing.” Kitzmiller told the mother the baby would be fine and that she should put it to sleep.
That night, Sullivan heard the baby gasping for air. She said she pinched the boy on the cheek to get him to respond. After a few more gasps the baby stopped breathing.
The couple called 911 from upstairs, but paramedics could not save the infant.
During questioning, investigators found out from Sullivan that Kitzmiller was using heroin. The man was also rough with the baby, but the Sullivan continued to leave the child in his care. Sullivan also told police that Kitzmiller was verbally abusive toward her.
Sullivan said that Kitzmiller abused the boy on several occasions, grabbing his shoulder, throwing the child in the air, swaddling him face down and on one occasion covering the infant’s mouth as he cried. Sullivan also said that Kitzmiller threw the boy from hand to hand, slapped him in his face, and bit his hands.
When police questioned Kitzmiller, he said that Sullivan and her relatives had yelled at him for treating the baby roughly. He also said that they had both used heroin in front of the child, but that she was not responsible for any of the injuries.