Accusations of Aurora parents over co-sleeping death of 2-day-old baby lead to condemnation from pregnancy justice groups (2023)

The criminal case in which an Aurora couple was charged with the joint death of their 2-day-old baby has drawn the ire of state reproductive justice groups, which they described as part of the prosecution.Growing trend across the countryPregnant women and childbirth mothers are more likely to be convicted.

Brittany Diekneit, 27, and her husband Sean Byrne, 26, face child abuse and death charges. Diekneit and baby Walker returned from the hospital on September 22, and Walker died sometime that night or early morning. The arrest warrants for the couple were issued in April, three months after the autopsy was completed. Aurora police arrested people who said in an affidavit that the couple had been drinking alcohol before sharing the baby and "disregarded sleeping with Walker while he was incapacitated and therefore unable to check on him." significant and unreasonable risks.”

The 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office also upgraded detectives' initial charges from a misdemeanor of the 3rd degree (criminally negligent death) to a misdemeanor of the 2nd degree (causing death intentionally or recklessly) -- adding to potential convictions and fines.

Diekneit's attorney, Adam Yoast, argued that not only was there no clear evidence to explain the baby's death, he also pointed to blood tests taken by the parents showing they were not intoxicated. The couple's defense team said the young parents' lower socioeconomic status and background may be one of the reasons they face prosecution.

Byrne's attorney, Alan Davis, said the "core" of the case was that prosecutors "essentially criminalized bed-sharing with infants."

The nonprofits Elephant Circle, Soul2Soul Sisters and ProgressNow Colorado wrote to the district attorney condemning the case against Diekneit, saying systemic failure was more to blame for the death than parents. Across the country, groups have sounded the alarmCriminalization of pregnancy-- which most often affects women of color and women living in poverty -- who fear they will get worse.

"After Dobbs [the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned abortion rights], lawyers now need to formulate reproductive justice differently," said Kayla Frawley, ProgressNow's legislative director. "Now we have to look at how these cases relate to the criminalization of the pregnancy itself. ... We know the seriousness of these cases and they happen and often go unsubstantiated and reported because the families involved have minimal financial means.

Nonprofit groups that advocate for equality and reproductive justice also said the charges run counter to Colorado's policy of prioritizing education, treatment and keeping families together over prosecution.

The state attorney's office declined to comment on the case.

The couple's two-year-old daughter and Diekneit have been living with Diekneit's parents since Walker's death because she and Byrne were not allowed to be alone or interact with the toddler.

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"I can't figure it out," Diekneit said. 'I can not do it. I know I didn't hurt my son. And I know I didn't mean to hurt my son. I will never, never, never hurt my children.

nightcrawler is dead

On the night Walker died, Dicknett and her husband ordered Chinese food for dinner and celebrated the birth of their child with wine.

Diekneit - who is not breastfeeding - said she had two mimosas that night. Byrne told officers he had four or five drinks in the hours before feeding Walker and went to bed around 1:30 a.m., according to the affidavit.

Just after 6 a.m., Dicknet wakes up in a panic. She didn't look at it then, but she knew Walker hadn't woken up to being eaten in ages, and he hadn't cried.

- I don't often relive the day in my mind - she said, crying. "I immediately started saying he was dead. 'He's dead. He's dead. He's dead.'"

Parents tried to revive Walker, but police and paramedics were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 7.13am.

In the arrest affidavit, detectives included photos of empty alcohol bottles found in trash cans and in the kitchen and empty containers of the drop, a THC concentrate, found in the bathroom as part of the police investigation.

Parents also had blood tests. Although Byrne's tests showed THC in his blood, he and Diekneit tested negative for alcohol. This was not surprising given the length of time between consumption and testing, the arrest documents said. But Diekneit said she also had a urinalysis - which can sometimes show three to five days' worth of alcohol - for the Department of Human Services come back negative.

Yost called the investigation a hoax that made the couple look bad by repeatedly citing alcohol, even though there was little evidence that alcohol was the cause of the child's death. Davis called discussions of alcohol in the case "irrelevant noise."

Byrne, who has a criminal record involving alcohol and drugs, including a previous case involving his daughter, was placed on probation and banned from drinking or using drugs as part of protective measures, police said in an affidavit.

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Diekneit's only previous criminal charge was a DUI charge in 2017 when she was 21. But Diekneit hasn't had a drinking problem since, she says, even during her two pregnancies. She spent time in rehab several years ago, where she met her now-husband and said the couple worked hard to create a better life for their family. They also complied with a Department of Public Service plan for their daughter, which they hope to complete when charges are charged in Walker's death.

Yoast said the case clearly illustrates how the government "sets the perception of how parents should raise their children".

For Byrne, the months following Walker's death were nothing short of a nightmare.

"The best thing that happened to me was my kids, and the worst thing that happened to me and my wife was the worst thing that could happen to a parent," he said.

Accusations of Aurora parents over co-sleeping death of 2-day-old baby lead to condemnation from pregnancy justice groups (1)


The autopsy results in Walker's death were inconclusive, with only "environmentally unsafe sleep and exposure to sertraline" listed as "significant medical conditions" in the child's death.

Heather Thompson, one of the Associate Directors, felt that including these termskruger elephant- The birthright group behind some Diekneit propaganda. Sertraline likely passed to baby while Diekneit was taking prescription antidepressant Zoloft during pregnancy, study says, according to autopsyThe risk of problems for the baby is very low.

As a postpartum doula, Thompson talks to new parents about bed-sharing and bed-sharing, including the associated risks. She also served as aNational Institutes of Healthworking group on the issue.

Part of the problem with co-sleeping advice is that parents are expected to do "tough stuff," she says, especially in the early days of sleep deprivation—and if something happens to their child, the parent is eager to judge the parent, without empathy.

"The trauma and harm caused by this reaction goes beyond losing a child," Thompson said.

Co-sleeping increases so-called risksmall island developing statesor the risk of accidental suffocation, but studies show that bed sharing is on the rise even when people don't admit it openly. Bed-sharing is more acceptable in other countries, although experts say it makes Western-style beds less safe in the United States.

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"Few would have imagined that a co-sleeping decision could result in a sentence as harsh as this family's, especially since it is so common and the issue so rare," the Colorado state attorney wrote to the district attorney.

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends co-sleeping– Let your baby sleep in the same room for at least six months to a year, but warn her not to share the same bed or sleep on the sofa. However, the 2022 proposaladmit it's happening, and offers advice on what to do if someone falls asleep with a baby in bed.

On the way out, Diekneit said she was handed a brochure on bed-sharing, but she and Byrne had no problem sharing the bed with their first child. Before her arrest, Diekneit was discussing how to safely share a bed in a Facebook group for mothers.

While Thompson told parents not to sleep with their babies when they were intoxicated, she said the evidence in the case showed that neither parent was intoxicated.

"I think a lot of people in and out of the court system will hear this sequence of events and come to the conclusion that the parents must have been drunk and strangled their child, which in my opinion and experience is also a cultural response, Because it's rarely rooted in data," she said.

She added that regular drinking after childbirth is socioculturally acceptable "unless something like that happens and we vilify it". Others involved in the case noted how common it was for parents to drink alcohol around their children, including in public places.

"Mothers after childbirth, pregnant women and people who are prenatal are treated differently in the way they control their bodies...we hold them to different social norms, so when something like this happens, if society does we're going to be penalized and system," he said. Frawley said he is also a certified lactation consultant and former obstetrician. "It's really unfair and wrong.

She hopes the case will inform future legislation, whether it's reducing the time it takes for families to receive autopsy reports, not removing a child from the home immediately after another child's death, or providing authorities with information about sleep-related infants. Death training.

bed in america

Nationally, there has been an increase in the number of infant autopsy reports citing an undetermined cause of death, said Dr. Fern Hauck of the University of Virginia School of Medicine. Hauck's research focuses on accidental infant death and its prevention strategies, andBed sharing between cultures. She has no connection or knowledge of the Aurora case.

Medical examiners sometimes determine the cause of death as "undetermined," Hauke ​​said, based on the history of people around the baby that may be of concern, or whether there are conflicting stories that the autopsy can't prove. They may also use the label if the baby dies of sudden infant death syndrome (a specific diagnosis), or if the baby accidentally suffocates while sleeping with no signs of trauma.

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However, if it isuse of shared beddingUnless there is clear evidence of criminal intent, educating parents about safe sleep and minimizing risk is better than prosecution, Hauck said. Medical professionals have failed to get their message across, she said, especially in black communities where mothers sometimes worry about keeping their babies out of sight to protect them.

"I think the most important thing is that we have to find ways to make our proposals culturally acceptable and work harder to find solutions to the problem of infant mortality," Hauke ​​said.

Criminal proceedings during pregnancy and after childbirth

Eric Ross, a spokesman for the District Attorney's Office for the 18th Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties), said in an email that "sleeping alone does not usually lead to charges." , but he did not elaborate. Specific case.

"Often some other type of factor is present, such as alcohol or drug use before bedtime," he wrote.

Criminal charges related to co-sleeping are uncommon -- the Arapahoe District Attorney's Office hasn't prosecuted any such cases in the past three years. However, another couple in Aurora has been chargedbedmate death 2016Their 3-month-old infant — their second to die in their bed share — was charged with felony child abuse resulting in death. Father told police parents had been drinking and smoking weed before baby's death

Other co-sleeping crimes have occurred across the country, includinglast year in ohio, a North Carolina.

In the letter, the Colorado group wrote that a conviction in Diekneit's co-sleeping case would not improve outcomes for newborns and would deter families from seeking help in the future.

Diekneit will hold a preliminary hearing on Friday. Now, she continues to email her son from the account she set up for him, writing that she knows they will meet again in heaven.

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Accusations of Aurora parents over co-sleeping death of 2-day-old baby lead to condemnation from pregnancy justice groups (2)

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Accusations of Aurora parents over co-sleeping death of 2-day-old baby lead to condemnation from pregnancy justice groups? ›

The criminal case of an Aurora couple charged in the co-sleeping death of their 2-day-old baby has spurred outcry from state reproductive justice groups who describe the prosecution as part of a growing trend across the country in which pregnant and postpartum people are facing more criminalization.

Who is the couple that killed the baby? ›

Stephen Boden and partner Shannon Marsden killed Finley Boden, who died on Christmas Day in 2020. Finley was found to have suffered 130 "appalling" injuries. Boden and Marsden, from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, were ordered to serve a minimum of 29 and 27 years respectively at Derby Crown Court on Friday.

Why does co-sleeping increase risk of SIDS? ›

The risk of SIDS is 50 times higher for babies when they sleep on a sofa or armchair with an adult. They are also at risk of accidental death as they can easily slip into a position where they are trapped and can't breathe.

How many babies have died from sleeping with parents? ›

Experts are sharing safe sleep techniques

According to the CDC, about 3,500 babies in the US die each year as a result of co-sleeping. RICHMOND, Va.

What is bed sharing with baby? ›

Bed-sharing: This is when parents and infants sleep together in a bed, couch, or chair. This has raised concerns because bed-sharing with an infant increases the risk sleep-related deaths, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Who were the 2 kids that killed a baby? ›

James Patrick Bulger (16 March 1990 – 12 February 1993) was a two-year-old boy from Kirkby, Merseyside, England, who was abducted, tortured, and murdered by two 10-year-old boys, Robert Thompson (born 23 August 1982) and Jon Venables (born 13 August 1982), on 12 February 1993.

Who was the female serial killer that killed babies? ›

Amelia Elizabeth Dyer (née Hobley; 1836 – 10 June 1896), popularly dubbed the Ogress of Reading, was an English serial killer who murdered infants in her care over a thirty-year period during the Victorian era.

Does co-sleeping affect infants development? ›

Other concerns with co-sleeping involve the delayed development of infant independence and sleep issues. For example, an infant who falls asleep with its parents in the same bed has been observed to have more sleep problems associated with shorter and more fragmented sleep.

What are 3 known risk factors for SIDS? ›

Several factors increase a baby's risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
  • Low birth weight infants.
  • Premature infants.
  • Sex of the baby-boys have a higher incidence of SIDS.
  • Race: African American, American Indian or Native Alaskan babies have a higher risk for SIDS.
  • Babies who sleep on their stomachs.

What are 2 risk factors for SIDS? ›

Babies who usually sleep on their backs but who are then placed to sleep on their stomachs, such as for a nap, are at very high risk for SIDS. Sleep in an adult bed with parents, other children, or pets; this situation is especially dangerous if: The adult smokes, has recently had alcohol, or is tired.

Is it illegal to share a bed with your baby? ›

Most parents who choose to bed share with their baby follow strict safety guidelines and feel the law should not interfere with their sleeping preferences. As of now, their right to make that choice is protected, but in the event they suffer the tragic outcome of a child death, the courts may not be in their favor.

At what age should you stop cuddling your child to sleep? ›

Stop Co-Sleeping with Your Baby at Age Two

It is an essential method that is used by most parents to help kids feel less stressed at night. And while there is no question that there are numerous health benefits, it is always best to end co-sleeping by the end of age two at the latest.

What is unsafe sleep for babies? ›

Unsafe sleep practices include infants sleeping on their tummies or sides or in places other than cribs/bassinets/play yards, such as adult beds, baby slings, car seats, couches or armchairs. Also unsafe is sleeping with pets, other children or adults, or with blankets or other bedding, crib bumpers, or stuffed toys.

Does co-sleeping cause behavior problems? ›

Early childhood co-sleeping is associated with multiple behavioral problems reported by parents, teachers, and children themselves.” That co-sleeping could actually predict behavioral problems makes this study more powerful — and ominous.

How does the death of a parent affect a baby? ›

Children who experience parental loss are at a higher risk for many negative outcomes, including mental issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, post-traumatic stress symptoms), shorter schooling, less academic success, lower self-esteem5, and more sexual risk behaviors6.

Why shouldn't you sleep with baby on chest? ›

While having a baby sleep on mother's (or father's) chest whilst parents are awake has not been shown to be a risk, and such close contact is in fact beneficial, sleeping a baby on their front when unsupervised gives rise to a greatly increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) also known as cot death.

Who was the 90s baby killer? ›

Louise Woodward (born 1978) is a British former au pair, who at the age of 18 was accused of second degree murder but subsequently convicted of the involuntary manslaughter (reduced from the jury trial verdict) of eight-month-old Matthew Eappen in Newton, Massachusetts, United States.

Who was the mother who killed 6 babies? ›

From 1996 to 2006, Megan Huntsman, an American woman, murdered six of her newborn children shortly after giving birth to them in Utah.

Where is baby killer now? ›

Eastwood, 36, is serving a life sentence for killing Paul Algie, 22, in 2004. Formerly Daniel Eastwood, she has been living as a woman in jail for four years and completed her 15-year minimum term in 2019. But she has remained in secure conditions and is not due for release.

Who was the most horrible female serial killer? ›

Aileen Wuornos: The Selling of a Serial Killer (1993) Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003)

Who was the scariest female serial killer? ›

America's most notorious female criminals
  • Aileen Wuornos (aka "That chick from Monster), 1956-2002. Crime: Found guilty of killing six men between the years of 1989-1990. ...
  • Genene Jones, 1950-Present. ...
  • Griselda Blanco, 1943-2012. ...
  • Delphine LaLaurie, 1775-1842. ...
  • Nannie Doss, 1905-1965. ...
  • Andrea Yates, 1964-Present.

Who is the nurse accused of baby murders? ›

As the trial continues, Yahoo News UK sets out who Letby is, her background and what she has been charged with. Nurse Lucy Letby has been accused of attacking nine babies just after their parents left their cots, including the same child twice just after their father stepped away, a court has heard.

Are babies who co-sleep happier? ›

Children with a secure attachment often respond appropriately to situations, show minimal distress when their mother leaves, and are happy when their mother returns. Co sleeping helps to foster attachment because mama baby closeness helps to release the 'love hormone' oxytocin.

What is the most cited reason for co-sleeping with an infant? ›

Benefits of room-sharing include increased access to an infant and a lower risk of SIDS and other causes of infant death. Easier to check on an infant: Sleeping within view and reach of the infant's separate sleeping space allows caregivers to check on and comfort their baby.

Why do babies prefer cosleeping? ›

Physical contact, in close cosleeping, helps babies to "breathe more regularly, use energy more efficiently, grow faster, and experience less stress," says McKenna. Babies, too, who are not necessarily breastfed, as in the case of adoption, will also naturally reap the many other benefits of such close contact.

What is the number 1 cause of SIDS? ›

While the cause of SIDS is unknown, many clinicians and researchers believe that SIDS is associated with problems in the ability of the baby to arouse from sleep, to detect low levels of oxygen, or a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood. When babies sleep face down, they may re-breathe exhaled carbon dioxide.

Why is SIDS risk highest at 3 months? ›

SIDS is most common at 2-4 months of age when the cardiorespiratory system of all infants is in rapid transition and therefore unstable. So, all infants in this age range are at risk for dysfunction of neurological control of breathing.

Why does sleeping in the same room as baby reduce SIDS? ›

Dr. Hauck: We don't know for sure why room-sharing without bed-sharing is protective, but we have some theories. One is that the babies are sleeping more lightly because there is more movement around them (so they cannot get into as deep a sleep, which can contribute to the final pathway in SIDS).

Can you go to jail for SIDS? ›

So much about what causes SIDS is still unknown. The cause of many SIDS deaths remains a mystery. Unfortunately, some SIDS deaths end up resulting in criminal charges for parents or caretakers, compounding tragedy on top of tragedy.

Does CPS allow cosleeping? ›

Boys and Girls Age 5+ Should Not Share a Room. CPS usually does not approve of children of opposite genders sharing rooms after age 5. If one sibling is over the age of 5, it is suggested that they move into their own room. If a family has one child of each gender, the answer to the question would be “yes.”

What age can you share a room with a baby? ›

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the best place for a baby to sleep is in his parents' bedroom. He should sleep in his own crib or bassinet (or in a co-sleeper safely attached to the bed), but shouldn't be in his own room until he is at least 6 months, better 12 months.

Do babies know kisses are affectionate? ›

Babies can tell who has close relationships based on one clue: saliva. Sharing food and kissing are among the signals babies use to interpret their social world, according to a new study.

What does it mean if a guy cuddles with you all night? ›

Cuddling and getting cozy typically indicates that a partner feels more comfortable being intimate and close with you. Some couples enjoy cuddling at night before they sleep or after they make love. Cuddling could also indicate they have deep feelings for you and want to be near you.

What does it mean when he holds your hand while sleeping? ›

Holding hands while sleeping is common for couples with strong relationships. They hold their sweetheart's hand to show their partner that they will always be by their side. The relationship is so strong that their trust is unbreakable.

What are 3 things that an infant should not sleep in? ›

Don't let your baby sleep in a carrier, sling, car seat or stroller. Babies who sleep in these items can suffocate. If your baby falls asleep in one, take her out and put her in her crib as soon as you can. Don't put your baby to sleep on soft surfaces, like a waterbed, sofa, soft mattress or cushion.

What is the longest you should let a baby sleep? ›

Newborns will wake up and want to be fed about every three to four hours at first. Do not let your newborn sleep longer than five hours at a time in the first five to six weeks.

How old is it safe for a baby to sleep through the night? ›

The ideal age is 4 months, when a baby is physically capable of sleeping through the night because they have enough fat stored (i.e., they don't need to eat) and have not yet developed object permanence, a milestone typically achieved between age 4 and 7 months.

Who was the baby factory serial killer? ›

Gary M. Heidnik
Gary Michael Heidnik
Victims6 kidnapped; 4 survivors, 2 killed
Span of crimesNovember 26, 1986 – March 19, 1987
CountryUnited States
14 more rows

Who was the baby boy murdered by parents? ›

Finley Boden: Mother and father who murdered 10-month-old baby on Christmas Day 2020 jailed. Shannon Marsden and Stephen Boden inflicted 130 separate injuries on their son Finley, who suffered from a broken pelvis, burn marks and 71 bruises before he died.

Who is Ashley baby Killer Alaska? ›

Ashley Ard has been dubbed 'The Most Hated Woman in Alaska' after being accused of killing her newborn baby.

Who was accused of killing 7 babies? ›

Letby, 33, is accused of murdering seven babies and attempting to kill another 10 infants between June 2015 and June 2016.

Who was the first female child serial killer? ›

On 25 May 1968, the day before her 11th birthday, Bell strangled four-year-old Martin Brown in an upstairs bedroom of a derelict house located at 85 St. Margaret's Road. She is believed to have committed this crime alone. Brown's body was discovered by three children at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Who was the mother of the most depraved serial killer? ›

Augusta Gein is the mother of the “most depraved” serial killer—Ed Gein, a mama's boy who was the inspiration for fictional characters with mommy issues like Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs.

Who was the child found safe after 42 years? ›

Soon they had their answer, Baby Holly was identified as 42-year-old Holly Miller, a mother of five living in Oklahoma. "I am so wonderfully blessed to have a loving, faithful family to embrace as we meet again after 41 years.

Who was the 19th century baby killer? ›

In the summer of 1896, 57-year-old Amelia Dyer was executed for the murder of a baby girl. It was a sample charge. The bodies of six more babies had been found, and further evidence pointed to at least 12 murders. It is believed that Dyer killed many more babies, some experts have even attributed to her as many 400.

Was Ashley Bush found? ›

Benton County Sheriff Shawn Holloway said that Ashley Bush's body was found in Missouri on November 3. The sheriff says that Bush's baby was also found in a separate location also in McDonald County on November 2. Bush was 31 weeks pregnant.

Where did they find Ashley Bush? ›

Bush, 33, was reported missing in Arkansas last Monday. Her body was discovered later in the week in Missouri, where it had been burned by a married couple trying to hide her remains and claim her fetus, according to authorities.

How old is Ashley Ard? ›

The woman was identified as 24-year-old Ashley Ard.

Why did the nurse killed 7 babies? ›

"I killed them on purpose because I'm not good enough to care for them," prosecutors said she wrote. In another she allegedly wrote: "Not good enough. I will never have children or marry. I will never know what it's like to have a family."

Who was the NICU nurse that killed babies? ›

"Smiling" nurse Lucy Letby offered to take photographs of a baby girl soon after she allegedly murdered her at the fourth attempt, a court has heard. The 33-year-old is charged with murdering seven babies and attempting to murder 10 others at the Countess of Chester Hospital in 2015 and 2016.

Did Lucy Letby do it? ›

Letby, 33, originally from Hereford, denies murdering seven babies and attempting to kill a further ten. She denies all the charges against her. Her trial at Manchester Crown Court continues.


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