DA: No charges in death of Clifton 6-month-old
District Attorney Pete Hautzinger on Wednesday said a Clifton mother will not face criminal charges in connection with the death of her infant daughter, who apparently rolled off a bed as she slept and suffocated.
Six-month-old Alesana Mowery was found dead the morning of March 26 next to a bed in a guest room at her grandmother’s home, 3178 D 1/2 Road, unit A.
Hautzinger said the Mesa County Coroner’s Office ruled the infant died as a result of positional asphyxiation: The baby fell off a bed during the night and became wedged between its edge and a bedroom wall, leaving her unable to breathe.
The coroner ruled Alesana’s death was accidental.
Hautzinger estimated the gap where the child fell was approximately 6 to 9 inches, measuring from the bed’s edge and the bedroom wall.
Alesana, along with a 2-year-old sibling, had been placed in the bed the night before by their mother. The bed consisted of only a mattress, about one foot from the floor, Hautzinger said.
Over recent weeks, internal debate at the Mesa County District Attorney’s office focused on the fact the child was not in a crib and whether the incident should be prosecuted as negligent child abuse resulting in death.
“What happened here was a tragedy,” Hautzinger said. “Any parent could conceivably find themselves in this situation, but that doesn’t mean it is criminal.”
The DA added, “Certainly, the best possible parenting practice is putting a baby in a crib.”
Aside from Alesana’s mother and grandmother, the baby lived in the home with three siblings, Hautzinger said. The baby’s father lives out of state.
Alesana was discovered dead by her mother and grandmother after the girl’s 2-year-old sibling woke up on the morning of March 26 and the family became worried when they didn’t hear the baby.
The baby was found “cold to the touch” and was dead for “some period of time” when contacted by her mother, Hautzinger said.
The results of a toxicology test from Alesana’s autopsy showed nothing of interest to the investigation, he said.