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PROVO — A Utah teen who hid her deceased newborn in her closet drawer last year has been making progress in weekly therapy sessions and will remain on probation.
"It sounds like treatment's going better. It's important that you keep that up," 4th District Judge Suchada Bazzelle told her at a Thursday hearing.
"Yeah," the now 18-year-old woman replied with an enthusiastic nod. She is working three jobs, has moved out of her family's home and is doing well in counseling, said probation officer Melissa Anderson.
Last March, at age 17, the girl gave birth in her Saratoga Springs home without telling anyone and later put the newborn's body in the drawer, court documents say. She later admitted to desecration of a dead body, a third-degree felony, said Chris Yanelli, deputy Utah County attorney. KSL typically does not name those in the juvenile system.
The teen had told police she was raped in August 2017 by a man she didn't know, becoming pregnant and later giving birth in the family's bathtub, where the child was under water for several minutes, charges state. Her father found the deceased infant wrapped in a shirt and robe in the drawer in April, court documents say.
Saratoga Springs police tried to identify the baby's father but ran out of leads and closed the case last month, said Cpl. Jason Ruch.
The judge ordered the teen to three additional months of probation and therapy. She is due back in court in May.
- The Family Support Center has 15 locations throughout the state and offers a free crisis nursery for parents who have to keep appointments or who are stressed out. They also offer counseling and family mentoring. Call 801-955-9110 or visit familysupportcenter.org/contact.php for more information.
- The Division of Child and Family Services offers counseling, teaches parenting skills and conflict resolution and can connect the family with community resources. Their goal is to keep children with their family when it is "possible and safe." Read more at visitdcfs.utah.gov/questions/or call 801-538-4100.
- The Christmas Box House acts as a temporary shelter for children and can provide them with new clothing and shoes, among other services. Call the Salt Lake office at 801-747-2201 or the Ogden office at 801-866-0350.
- Birth parents in Utah can safely and anonymously give up custody of their newborn child at any hospital in the state, with no legal consequences and no questions asked. The child’s mother can drop off the child, or the mother can ask someone else to do it for her. The newborns should be dropped off at hospitals that are open 24 hours a day. Newborns given up in this manner will be cared for by the hospital staff, and the Utah Division of Child and Family Services will find a home for the child. For more information, visit utahsafehaven.org or call the 24-hour hotline at 866-458-0058.