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North Utah couple charged with murder in malnutrition death of baby

Utah

LOGAN, Utah (KSL.com) — A Logan couple are facing murder charges accusing them of killing their 1-month-old baby by malnutrition.

Zachary Michael Woirhaye, 38, and Jodi Lee Anderson, 34, were each charged Thursday with aggravated murder, a capital offense, in the death of their 46-day-old baby. Anderson was also charged with obstructing justice, a second-degree felony.

Logan police were first contacted by a family member of the baby who said the infant was unresponsive on Dec. 31, 2021.

First responders found Anderson, their 10-year-old child and the baby in a hotel room where the family had been living for several weeks, a police booking affidavit states. The baby had no heartbeat and wasn’t breathing.

“Officers at the hotel were concerned due to Jodi’s responses to questions,” the affidavit states.

Woirhaye was at work when first responders arrived and came to the hospital when contacted. Medical staff performed life-saving measures, but the infant was removed from life support on Jan. 12, 2022, due to a lack of brain activity, according to the affidavit.

“The (baby) appeared extremely sick and frail,” the arrest report states, noting that the baby’s “incontrovertible condition” included sunken voids in the ribs, chest and distended abdomen. The thighs were purplish black, and the skin was wrinkled, discolored and lacked muscle or fat.

Police say a pediatrician confirmed that the baby was born with no known medical conditions.

The affidavit also details officer interviews with family members who said they repeatedly reminded Anderson to feed the baby more, but she’d often become upset and begin yelling in response. Several family members also expressed concerns about Anderson and Woirhaye having developmental delays, it states.

On the day the infant was hospitalized, Anderson told police she noticed the baby wasn’t breathing after Woirhaye left for work, but she didn’t call 911 because she didn’t know the hotel’s address, the affidavit alleges.

Police say Anderson had wiped her phone minutes before her interview. When asked if she did this because she thought she was in trouble with police, Anderson answered, “Probably,” according to the report.

Woirhaye also told police that he was aware Anderson wasn’t feeding the baby all day while he was at work, the affidavit states.

The state medical examiner listed the infant’s immediate cause of death as malnutrition.

“In this case, malnutrition resulted in hypoglycemia, cardiac arrest and was complicated by hypothermia and subsequent irreversible anoxic brain injury,” the affidavit states.

The medical examiner also reported that the baby weighed 7.76 pounds at birth and 6.82 pounds at the time of the autopsy.

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