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VERNAL, Utah (AP) — A Utah woman has been charged with murder and child abuse after prosecutors said she acknowledged suffocating her 3-year-old stepdaughter.
Police charged 24-year-old McKenley Yadon last Friday with aggravated murder and child abuse in the March 14 death of her stepdaughter Arianna Stout in the northeastern Utah city of Vernal.
Police have said they were called to Yadon's home in mid-March because of a report that the child was choking.
Officers found the child not breathing and unresponsive and said they saw bruises on her head.
An autopsy determined the toddler died from asphyxia caused by smothering.
Charging documents said that Yadon told police that she smothered the child using a blanket, and she had been planning to kill the child in the days leading up to the death.
Online court records do not list a defense attorney for Yadon who could comment on her behalf. She is being held in the Uintah County Jail.
Family members have recalled the toddler as a fearless and kind child who loved animals and playing outdoors.
Christina Cook, Stout's grandmother, said Stout was close to her older sister Naomi, who is autistic, according to the Deseret News .
"She did everything for her older sister. She made sure Naomi was taken care of. She made sure she washed her sister's hair all the time in the tub, and she was just taking care of her big sister. And she was just that way," Cook said.
The toddler also loved riding on four wheelers with her father and uncle and having tea parties, according to her obituary .
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