Pubdate: Wed, 24 Aug 2005
Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Copyright: 2005 The Salt Lake Tribune
A girl born minutes after her mother was shot to death has tested positive for three types of narcotics, is suffering from brain injuries and is on life support, according to state lawyers.
The lawyers, speaking in a child-welfare hearing Tuesday, asked for a "do not resuscitate" order for the girl, whom medical staff reportedly call "Janie."
Third District Judge Elizabeth Lindsley said she would have to review Janie's medical status before ruling on the state's request and asked the lawyers for a formal written motion.
Janie remained in critical condition at LDS Hospital on Tuesday.
Her mother, 30-year-old Darla M. Woundedhead, who, according to court records, had two other children born with drugs in their system, died early Thursday from a shotgun blast to the chest and upper abdomen.
Police say Woundedhead, who was seven months pregnant, was in Room 26 of the Dream Inn, 1865 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City, when she answered a knock at the door. Someone fired a shotgun through the doorway, striking Woundedhead.
Police say drugs and drug paraphernalia were in the motel room and drugs might have been a factor in the shooting. Officers on Friday arrested Kerri Armant, 32, in connection with the shooting, but they don't know if she was the shooter and are still seeking three unidentified men who fled with her. Armant, who has not been formally charged, remained in the Salt Lake County jail on Tuesday.
After Woundedhead died, physicians at LDS Hospital performed a Caesarean section to deliver her baby.
On Tuesday, Lindsley awarded the Utah Division of Child and Family Services temporary custody of Janie. In that hearing in West Jordan, DCFS for the first time disclosed details of the girl's medical condition.
Janie tested positive for cocaine, opiates and barbiturates, said Assistant Utah Attorney General Annette T. Jan. The girl has a severe brain hemorrhage, suffers from seizures, is not responding to pain stimuli and is on life support, Jan added.
After the hearing, DCFS Deputy Director Duane Betournay said Janie is sedated and on a respirator. Doctors don't know whether she has brain activity, Betournay said. He added his office is gathering more medical information about Janie before filing a motion formally asking Lindsley to issue the nonresuscitation order.
Outside the courtroom, Phil Rivera, an attorney appointed by the court to represent the girl, said that although shotgun pellets did not strike the child, the trauma to Woundedhead adversely affected her.
The child does not have a legal name, but Rivera said hospital staff members have begun calling the baby "Janie," derived from "Jane Doe." In court, she was referred to as "Baby Woundedhead."
Betournay said no one has claimed to be the girl's father and no family has expressed an interest to DCFS in taking custody of Janie.
Woundedhead was a member of the Oglala-Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D. Marie Fox Belly, administrator for the tribe's child welfare office, said her agency filed a motion to intervene and to have the child eventually placed with family. Fox Belly said two of Woundedhead's cousins have told her they are interested in taking the child.
"It's really sad," Fox Belly told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We're just hoping the best for the little girl."