Mother arrested after 6-week-old left alone for 37 hours dies

Posted at 2:53 PM, January 8, 2024

PHOENIX (Scripps News Phoenix) — A 6-week-old infant died after being left alone for more than a day and her mother is now facing homicide charges.

Booking photo of Sara Harris

Sara Harris is charged with murder after allegedly leaving her infant alone for more than a day. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

According to court paperwork, Phoenix police were called to an apartment on July 30, 2023, for reports of an infant not breathing. The child was pronounced dead at the scene when firefighters arrived.

During their investigation police learned 24-year-old Sara Harris left her 6-week-old and 17-month-old daughters alone at the apartment for 37 hours.

When Harris arrived back home she found the 6-week-old not responsive and called her parents. When the parents arrived a few minutes later, they called 911.

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Harris told police she left the infant swaddled and propped up on a mattress before leaving the home. She also admitted to giving the infant NyQuil and melatonin in a bottle before leaving. The 17-month-old was left in a playpen with no way to exit.

She also allegedly admitted to drinking, using drugs, and going to a nightclub during the 37 hours the children were left alone. The 17-month-old was not seriously injured during the time frame.

Harris told police she was upset when she returned home because she had left the children for so long.

Police seized Harris’ phone and gathered surveillance video from the area during their investigation. Harris was detained by police for questioning on Jan. 5, 2024.

Harris now faces charges of second-degree murder and child abuse.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Phoenix, an E.W. Scripps Company.