Utah mom accused of killing infant after ‘multiple incidents of abuse’

Posted at 11:20 AM, January 16, 2024

RIVERDALE, Utah (Scripps News Salt Lake City) — A Utah woman has been arrested after allegedly killing her 2-month-old son following “multiple incidents of abuse over the past two weeks.”

Brycee* Jo Harkins, 26, was taken into custody Monday and faces one charge of aggravated murder.

graphic of police report

(Scripps News Salt Lake City)

“It didn’t need to be that way. He didn’t need to die,” said Harkins’ former coworker and friend Ricki Jimenez.

According to arresting documents, Riverdale police were called to a Harkins’ home Sunday after dispatch had received a call saying the baby was not breathing. The person who called said the child was “gone” multiple times.

When officers and first responders arrived, they found the infant deceased with what police reported as “multiple injuries that are consistent with aggravated child abuse.”

Harkins told police that she “gave her son a punch to the head” when he would not stop crying, adding that it was a “hard punch.” The infant then began breathing off and on before stopping altogether.

“When I put the pieces together, I was like, ‘That cannot be the Brycee that I knew,'” said Jimenez.

As the baby was struggling, Harkins did not seek medical assistance for her child.

During a police interview, Harkins added that she had thrown the infant into his crib from a height of 1-2 feet “multiple times” and would sometimes push down on his chest knowing she could hurt the child.

“They can’t fight back. They can’t defend themselves. It’s sickening,” said Jimenez.

Jimenez said Harkins was a “hard worker,” “quiet,” and “very passive.”

She’s been wondering all day if anything could’ve been done to stop it.

“If she could’ve called me and been like, ‘You know what, I’m having a hard time. Come get this kid,’ I would’ve gone and got her baby,” she said.

“[Harkins] showed a reckless indifference to human life and caused the death of her son by a course of conduct which [Harkins] is a major participant in the commission of aggravated child abuse,” police wrote.

The police report claimed that there was another child in the home at the time officers responded to the death of the infant, but released no other information.

*The arrest report spelled the suspect’s name as “Bryce,” but sources told Scripps News Salt Lake City that her name is Brycee.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.

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