Utah mom arrested in metro Atlanta in infant’s death; boyfriend in custody

Utah mom arrested in metro Atlanta in infant’s death; boyfriend in custody

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Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office
Maria Elena Sullivan was arrested on murder and child abuse charges.
  • Story Highlights
  • Maria Sullivan made ‘some concerning statements’ to staff at Northside Hospital-Cherokee.
  • The hospital contacted the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Officials checked Sullivan for warrants and learned she was wanted on murder and other charges.

A Utah mother wanted in connection with the death of her 13-day-old son was arrested in metro Atlanta, officials said Monday.

Authorities caught up with Maria Sullivan, 26, of Sandy, Utah, after she made “some concerning statements” to staff members at Northside Hospital-Cherokee, according to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Marianne Kelley did not say what those statements were or why Sullivan was at the hospital.

However, staff members notified a sergeant at the hospital about the troublesome statements and the official learned Sullivan had warrants for murder and child abuse. 

Sullivan was discharged from the hospital and arrested just after 4:50 p.m. Sunday, Kelley said.

Her son, born Sept. 4, died Sept. 17, according to charging documents obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Sullivan told police her boyfriend, 21-year-old Dylan James Kitzmiller, abused her son and used heroin while the couple lived in Kitzmiller’s mother’s basement, documents state.

Kitzmiller was previously arrested and is being held on a $1 million bond in Utah, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill told the AJC.

The boyfriend is not the child’s father and officials are still trying to determine the child’s natural father, Gill said.

“What happened is on the night in question, they called 911 and the infant was in cardiac arrest,” Gill said.

Sullivan told police she’d heard her son moaning and gasping for air before finally picking him up, the document states.

“She stated she heard the baby gasp a few more times, then he stopped breathing,” the document states.

An autopsy revealed the child was abused over a period of time and at death had bruises, a broken arm and a broken rib among other injuries, Gill said.

According to the charging documents, Kitzmiller would toss the baby in the air and roughly move his arms and legs in a jarring motion. On separate occasions, Kitzmiller grabbed the boy by the arm hard enough to make his head flip backward and swaddled the baby face down, Sullivan told police. She said Kitzmiller held his hand over the baby’s mouth “for a few seconds” when he was crying, the documents state. 

Though Sullivan did not cause the abuse, she was aware of it and did nothing to stop or report it, Gill said.

Sullivan is being held with no bond at the Cherokee County Adult Detention Center, Kelley said. Her bond in Utah is set at $1 million, according to the charging documents.

Kitzmiller and Sullivan each face one count of murder and three counts of child abuse.

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