ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — An Aurora mother is speaking out for the first time to FOX31. She’s accused of a felony after her baby died while sleeping in bed with her, just a day after coming home from the hospital.
Brittany Diekneit and her partner, Sean Byrne, are each facing a felony count of child abuse resulting in death. While the cause of death was undetermined, prosecutors allege the couple was intoxicated that night and ignored the risks of co-sleeping.
“I had my perfect family of four,” Diekneit said. “It’s all I ever wanted. I had it for less than 48 hours.”
Diekneit appeared in court at the Arapahoe County Justice Center for a preliminary hearing on Friday.
“It’s so traumatic,” Diekneit said. “It makes me feel like I have to put the grief on hold sometimes.”
Infant’s cause of death undetermined
According to an affidavit obtained by FOX31, Aurora Police responded to an apartment in Aurora around 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 22 after receiving a call about an unresponsive child. After extensive lifesaving measures were performed, the couple’s son was pronounced dead at the hospital.
In the affidavit, Aurora Police allege the couple was drinking the night before sharing a bed with the baby and “ignored the substantial and unjustifiable risk of co-sleeping while being incapacitated and they were thus unable to check on him.”
The affidavit includes pictures of empty alcohol bottles in the kitchen and trash as part of the investigation.
In an autopsy report later released, the cause of death was listed as undetermined.
‘Unexplained infant death,’ defense attorney argues
Defense attorney Adam Yoast argues there’s no clear evidence that explains what killed the baby and the blood tests for both parents came back negative for alcohol.
“At the end of the day, this case is about SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and it is an unexplained infant death that cannot be attributed to any one person,” Yoast said. “The issue was, is, a natural occurrence, phenomenon, occurred that night that no one could have prevented. Our government, instead of allowing that to exist, has taken upon themselves to criminalize every natural occurrence and every transaction that we undertake in our day-to-day lives.”
Since their son’s death, Diekneit said their 2-year-old daughter has been living with her grandparents because she and Bryne are not allowed to have contact with each other or be alone with their daughter.
“I want to shed light that this can happen to other people, mothers and fathers, and that this is wrong,” Diekneit said.
Advocacy groups ask DA to drop the charges
Nonprofit organizations, including ProgressNow Colorado, sent a letter to the district attorney’s office asking them to drop the charges.
“There’s no evidence of criminality and a parent is being very wrongfully prosecuted right now and re-traumatized through the entire process,” Kayla Frawley, with ProgressNow Colorado, said.
Diekneit said she’s traumatized but staying strong. She created an email account for her son so she can write to him and keep his spirit alive.
“I’m not very good with words when I speak them out loud, but I’d like to say I’m really good at writing,” Diekneit said. “I promised myself that I would remember everything about him from when he was here. The way he smelled, every single I can remember about him — I repeat it to myself so I’ll never ever forget.”
The Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office has not responded to a request for comment on the case. An arraignment is scheduled for June 16.
Source : https://kdvr.com/news/local/charges-filed-after-sleeping-newborn-dies-in-mothers-bed/