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Mark Wetzel, KSL TV

Police investigating death of Utah baby allegedly left in vehicle

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Sep. 5, 2019 at 2:03 p.m.



SANTAQUIN — Santaquin police have been investigating the death of a 2-month-old boy who investigators suspect was left in the back of a car for hours.

But why the baby was inside the vehicle that long was still being investigated Thursday. The boy’s mother, who Santaquin police say has given them inconsistent and false statements, is also under investigation.

As of Thursday, no one had been arrested and no charges in the case had been filed. But police say the case is still active as detectives continue to serve search warrants collecting evidence.

The investigation began Aug. 13 when officers were called to Mountain View Hospital in Payson.

“It was reported an infant had died at a storage unit in Santaquin,” a search warrant affidavit filed in 4th District Court states.

The boy had “hot red flushed skin” and a body temperature of 109.8 degrees, the warrant states. Doctors also noted that rigor mortis had already set in, according to the affidavit, which is something that happens a few hours after death.

”Prior to the emergency room calling, police and medical personnel had not received any emergency calls regarding this incident,” the warrant states.

As investigators were questioning the baby’s mother, they noted her “physical effect was unusual for a mother who just lost their infant child. She was calm and showing very little emotion. She was crying off and on struggling to provide tears and when asked a question she could stop crying instantly. (She) appeared to be overly concerned about self-preservation and me accusing her of something rather than being concerned about losing her child,” an officer wrote in the affidavit.

When asked to provide a timeline of the day, the mother “continually extended the time frames for each event and made it appear it took longer than expected to get to and from particular locations,” the warrant states.

For instance, she claimed it took 35 minutes to drive from Santaquin to the hospital on state Route 198 while driving in a “frantic rush.” But officers noted that even when driving the speed limit, that trip should only take 10 minutes.

Also neighbors who she claimed saw her with her child and a meeting she claimed to have at the storage unit in Santaquin turned out to be not true, according to the warrant.

“(Her) timeline was off and her story had large gaps of time that were unaccounted for. (She) proceeded to change her story a couple of times regarding the several hours leading up to her arrival at the hospital,” the warrant states.

The woman also claimed her cellphone was dead, which is why she didn’t call 911.

When the officer said he was going to seize her cellphone, the woman became defensive and “the phone was mysteriously lost,” according to the affidavit.

The next day, however, police say the woman gave them her phone as well as a different story about her whereabouts leading up to her arrival at the hospital.

“She claimed she went driving all around the south end of Utah County looking for her lost dog with her child in the car and lost track of time. She stated her child must have gotten too hot while in the car,” the warrant states.

Police say they believe the baby, Wade Ron Taylor, died from being in the back of the car too long, as the mother claims. But as of Thursday, the reasons for the child being in the car that long were unconfirmed.

Pat Reavy

KSL Weather Forecast