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Fate of Woman Who Dumped Infant in Hands of Prosecutors

Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office

Attempted Murder is the charge Unified Police are recommending for the 24-year-old Kearns woman who dumped her infant child in a neighbor’s trash can to hide her pregnancy. But the charge may change as the circumstances surrounding the incident come to light.

Right now, it’s unclear what kind of stress 24-year-old Alicia Englert was under when she left her child in a garbage can shortly after giving birth. But according to the police statement Englert feared her parents would find out about the pregnancy, so she discarded her child, hoping the infant girl would die and solve her problems. The child lived, but remains in critical condition at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City.

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder says regardless of the circumstance or what kinds of pressures Englert was under, a crime has been committed.

“We’ve got to make an arrest, we’ve got to pursue appropriate charges, we’ve got to introduce her into the system and then we can all collectively have a conversation about what’s best for her, what’s best for the child, what’s best for society,” Winder says.

Winder joined medical professionals on Tuesday afternoon to talk about the legal options mothers have if they feel they need to give up a child. Utah’s Safe Haven Law allows women to give up their infants at any medical facility without legal repercussions. Winder is a strong advocate for alternatives to incarceration, but notes the circumstances surrounding Englert’s decision won’t be considered until she moves through the court system.

“I do believe that the criminal justice system has to be sensitive to the totality of circumstances, but there is a time and place to discuss that,” Winder says. “From my current role, now is not the time to discuss alternatives for this young lady.”

Attempted murder is a 2nd degree felony, which is punishable by 5-15 years in state prison.

The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office has already screened the case. Englert is now awaiting a preliminary hearing. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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