OGDEN — A 14-month-old child was found dead in a motel Monday evening, and a man has been arrested in connection with the child's death, police said.
Emergency personnel responded to the Western Colony Inn, 234 24th St., to a call of an unresponsive 14-month-old girl at 6:12 p.m. The child was dead when they responded, according to Ogden Police Lt. Danielle Croyle.
The baby and two other children were in the care of Adam Joseph Barney, 23, a live-in boyfriend. Barney was arrested for investigation of child abuse homicide and two other misdemeanor warrants in Ogden.
Police said during the investigation and an additional interview, Barney told them he hit the child several times and squeezed her "substantially," which caused injuries and her death.
"There's some indication that he just wasn't equipped to take care of these kids," Croyle said. "It's just hard to say, but what makes somebody do that do a 14-month-old?"
Kaci Rupert, the mother of the baby, said she was completely surprised when she learned what happened.
Rupert said she is trying "to come to terms with it. It's not something I've fully realized yet."
She said she left her children, including the toddler, with her boyfriend inside the motel room when she left for work. When she came home, she learned that her daughter was dead.
"He watches them every day; every day and there's never been anything, never been any sign," Rupert said. "I asked my children if everything was OK, and they said, 'Yes,' and apparently what happened, what they are finding out is that he just snapped."
Rupert and Barney had been living with each other since July 4, and she described him as "the picture of respect and kindness."
She said she saw Barney on Tuesday morning. He apologized and admitted "what he did was something he can't ever undo," she said.
Right now Rupert said she is working on coping and sees forgiveness as being key.
"I’m not exactly sure what this forgiveness means because I don’t ever want this to repeat itself, but I know that I need to forgive and move on or else I’m never going to be able to honor the life she had,” she said through tears, “or be there for my boys, who will love and miss her and be looking to me for strength.”
The results of an autopsy are pending.
According to Croyle, the family had been staying at the motel for "an extended period," and the mother was not at the inn when police responded.
The other children at the inn — a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old — are now in the care of the Division of Child and Family Services. Ogden police will conduct a forensic interview with the children Tuesday.
Those who feel stressed out with a child, who need a break or who feel like they need counseling or training can reach out to one of the following agencies:
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," according to their website. Visit dcfs.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.
Under the Safe Haven law, birth parents or a designee can drop off their newborn at any hospital in the state without legal consequences and no questions asked. Call 866-458-0058 or email email@example.com.
Contributing: Becky Bruce, Nicole Vowell