Brittany Bell, a 27-year-old woman from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, has been charged with child neglect after leaving her infant daughter on the floor where she later died. Investigators presented details of the incident to an Oklahoma courtroom Monday.
Bell reported the death of her baby on Jan. 8. She told detectives that she had placed baby Alice on the floor and then fallen asleep on the couch during a film she was watching with her 18-month-old twins. She suggested that one of the twins could have sat on the baby out of jealousy, causing Alice to suffocate.
However, police are unsure of this account because Bell allegedly claimed previously to have put the baby in her crib.
According to a medical examiner, the precise cause for the death of Alice could not be determined. The report described the incident as “sudden unexplained infant death.”
In an affidavit to the court, medical examiner Jim Warring wrote, “I can conclude that she laid the baby on the floor and fell asleep without waking during which time Alice may have been suffocated by one or both of her twins or became distressed due to the surface of the floor and suffocated.”
Due to the uncertainty, Bell could not be charged with a homicide offense, forcing the prosecution to pursue the child neglect charges.
One thing the investigators were sure of was that the apartment where Bell and her children lived was in a very poor state. It was “infested with roaches,” the examiner’s report said, and they had even been able to leave bite marks on Alice’s legs and head after she died.
The court heard that neighbors had previously raised concerns about Bell’s ability to look after her children. The police had been called on earlier occasions.
As a result of Alice’s death, her other two children have been taken by the state.