SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) — The body of a missing newborn baby was found near the highway in Lambs Canyon on Monday, Sept. 25. The child’s 18-year-old mother had been arrested earlier in the week for the alleged death of the child.
On Sept. 19, Estrella Meza Ojeda, 18, led Wasatch County Sheriff’s officers to an area near where the body was found, saying she had disposed of the body in the area. Wasatch County Police found a piece of fabric they believed to belong to the baby but were unable to find the body. The search was suspended at that time due to the lack of light available and possible animal activity in the area. Police determined to establish a search plan with cadaver dogs and more officers.
According to Melody Cutler with Unified Police, Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office requested Unified’s assistance in searching for the baby, which they believed was in that jurisdiction. The body was located east of the Lambs Canyon exit on the south side of the Highway.
On Sept. 19, Meza Ojeda was arrested and charged with aggravated murder, obstructing justice, and abuse or desecration of a dead human body. According to a police booking affidavit, Meza Ojeda gave birth to a premature boy at the beginning of August. Doctors reportedly told Meza Ojeda that her son was unable to breathe on his own and required supplemental oxygen. After 22 days in the NICU, the infant was released from the hospital with Meza Ojeda, who went home with oxygen tanks to give her son.
It was reported several times that Meza Ojeda was seen with the child without the oxygen tanks and the child was taken to the hospital at one point where doctors reportedly again told Meza Ojeda that oxygen tanks were vital to his survival after she arrived without his tanks. The affidavit says doctors sent Meza Ojeda home with her son along with smaller oxygen tanks for easier transportation.
“It is now believed that this was an attempt to end [the baby’s] life and that [Meza Ojeda] was either interrupted or could not go through it with it at this time,” Heber City Police investigators wrote in their probable cause statement.
Between Sept. 11 and 19, police tried several times to contact Meza Ojeda finally finding her at her boyfriend’s home and taking her into custody. At that time, she told police she had a 3-year-old son in Mexico and asked police not to tell her boyfriend what they were there for “as he did not know that she’d had a baby and that he was the father of the son she has in Mexico.”
Police executed a search warrant on Meza Ojeda’s phone, revealing Google searches that suggested she may have killed her son. Searches included asking questions such as “How much time will I serve in prison for killing my baby” as well as “garbage dumps near me.”
“It appeared that [Meza Ojeda] was attempting to erase all evidence of his birth, life and death,” investigators wrote in a probable cause statement.
Meza Ojeda allegedly later confirmed with Detectives that the baby was no longer alive. Police claimed Meza Ojeda was over-whelmed with caring for a premature baby that needed extra care and wished to go back to being a single, non-mother. Investigators believe Meza Ojeda had premeditated her son’s death and was booked on the aforementioned charges.