Muncie Mom Charged in Death of 3-Month-Old Daughter


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Muncie Mom Charged in Death of 3-Month-Old Daughter

Sarah Styhl is charged with neglect after an investigation showed her deceased daughter had burns all over her body and "extensive skeletal trauma."

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — A mother was formally charged Thursday with two counts of neglect resulting in the death of her 3-month-old girl, the Delaware County prosecutor said. 

Sarah Styhl, 32, was in the Delaware County jail on $100,000 bond Thursday while awaiting an initial court hearing. The prosecutor said the hearing could happen Monday in Delaware Circuit Court 3.

Court documents outlining the Muncie Police Department investigation showed the baby had what appeared to be burns covering most parts of her body as well as extensive skeletal trauma. Tests are being done to determine the cause of death, the prosecutor said in a news release. 

Police got involved about 10:45 a.m. Saturday when an employee of the YWCA, 310 E. Charles St., called 911 and said Styhl reported her baby was unresponsive. Paramedics took the baby to IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 

The mother and child had checked into the YWCA on June 4. At that time, Styhl told a YMCA employee that her child had active health insurance. The employee informed the mother about the nearby Open Door Clinic that helps people without insurance.

Styhl told police on the night of June 8 that she had noticed an irritation on the baby's mouth and face, and had used ointments and lotions to treat it. Styhl said she thought the irritation might be an allergic reaction. She also told police the baby had fallen out of a stroller several weeks earlier, and she had put an Icy Hot pad and bandage on the baby for treatment.

Styhl told police she did not seek medical help because her child did not have insurance. Styhl told police she did not go to a hospital because those are to be visited only for emergency needs. 

Police then showed Styhl photos of more extensive injuries to the baby, but Styhl said she had never seen those injuries. After police challenged her on how she had missed those injuries, Styhl asked to speak to an attorney. 

Court documents did not indicate how Styhl had come to stay at the YWCA, which was listed as her address. 

The news release said two charges of neglect were issued for the same child as "simply alternate methods to charge the crime."

Online court documents did not indicate that the court had scheduled an initial hearing by Thursday afternoon.

(Photo provided by Delaware Co. Jail.)

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