Mother arrested in baby’s death - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Mother arrested in baby’s death

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Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2004 10:22 am | Updated: 4:50 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

A grand jury indictment identifies the baby as "Jane Doe, newborn infant born on or about March 3, 2004," and her body is still in a freezer in downtown Phoenix.

Now, her 18-year-old mother is in jail accused of abandoning the newborn and awaiting trial on a charge of second-degree murder.

Krystal H. Johnson of Tempe was indicted Monday and Scottsdale police arrested her about 5 a.m. Wednesday while investigating a report of a possible car theft, Scottsdale detective Sam Bailey said.

Johnson hid her face with a piece of paper during a brief court appearance in which Commissioner Sheila Madden of Maricopa County Superior Court affirmed $200,000 bail.

She left the courtroom ranting, cursing and saying she just turned 18 on May 9.

A woman discovered the baby’s body March 3 in a back yard in the 300 block of East Fillmore Street in Tempe. The baby, wrapped in small towels and a plastic bag, still had her umbilical cord attached. Johnson lived next door to the woman who found the body.

Forensic and scientific examination, including DNA samples voluntarily submitted by Johnson, determined that she was the mother of the child. An autopsy determined the baby was alive at birth and the cause of death was ruled a homicide, said Tempe police Sgt. Dan Masters.

A combination of factors related to being abandoned led to the baby’s death, Masters said. The examination suggested the child suffered from exposure, malnutrition, suffocation from being wrapped in a plastic bag, and possibly excessive bleeding from the still attached umbilical cord, he said.

"It’s tragic, just a complete tragedy in every sense of the word," Masters said.

Masters said the baby’s body is still in the custody of the Maricopa County Forensic Science Center in Phoenix.

Tempe police investigators have not yet talked to Johnson, who very early in the investigation hired an attorney and refused to talk to police.

"She retained an attorney that night and hasn’t made a statement since, so we’re not anticipating any," Masters said.

On Wednesday, Scottsdale officers pulled up to a business at 3420 N. Scottsdale Road, where they noticed a Chevrolet Camaro next to a car that police believed was being stolen.

Behind the wheel of the Camaro was Johnson, who had taken several other people to the location, police said.

"So, they check her out and, sure enough, there’s a $200,000 murder warrant out on her," Bailey said.

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