Teri Lynn Craig, a resident of Dugway Proving Ground, faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of an 18-month-old girl called only "M.C." in federal documents. Craig made an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Ronald N. Boyce Monday afternoon.
The federal court was involved because Dugway is a U.S. military installation."I'm inclined to request a psychological report," Boyce said as Craig sat before him, shackled and wearing a Tooele County Jail blue jumpsuit. He noted that the charge carries a possible sentence of up to life in prison. In the courtroom behind Craig, several people - apparently friends or relatives - cried. However, Craig showed no emotion other than responding to Boyce's questions in a voice that was sometimes inaudible.
Boyce ordered the woman held in jail at least until a hearing is completed Tuesday about whether she can afford an attorney. If she cannot, the court will appoint one.
According to the complaint, on Feb. 20 Craig called the Dugway Clinic from the home she shares with her husband, David Berry Craig. The child is not her biological daughter, but federal authorities were uncertain of their exact relationship.
Craig told the clinic she needed help for "M.C.," who she said had fallen downstairs at the home. She refused an ambulance and brought the child to the clinic herself.
M.C. was treated there, then taken to Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, according to an affidavit by FBI Special Agent Daniel R. Ward. Dr. Marion Walker, a pediatric neurosurgeon at Primary, found M.C. was in a deep coma and posturing - making movements indicative of brain injury.
"He noticed bruising all over the child's body. According to Dr. Walker, the bruises ranged in age from one day to one week. There were noticeable bruises on the upper arms. There were also injuries to the chest consistent with being inflicted by a rope or electrical cord."
Walker also noticed bruises on her scalp and spine and a fresh blue bruise on one of M.C.'s ears. When he opened the skull during treatment, he saw severe swelling of the brain, bleeding within the skull, hemorrhaging from her retina and other injuries not consistent with an accident, particularly not with falling downstairs.
"Dr. Walker concluded that the injuries were consistent with the child being shaken and with the child suffering a severe blow to the head . . . He concluded that the child had suffered chronic physical abuse."
The same evening, after M.C. died, an investigator interviewed Craig. She waived her rights to a lawyer and agreed to talk.
"She said that earlier in the day. . . M.C. was whining while she was trying to dress the child. The child was standing on the floor. She picked the child up around the rib cage with her hands under the child's arms with her fingers around the back of the child.
"She said she shook the child, then put the child on the floor. She said the child might have hit her head on the floor. While the child was on the floor she pushed or kicked the child in the thigh with her foot. She said she noticed the child was not moving when she was on the floor; that is why, according to the defendant, she kicked the child."
Craig also told the investigator that M.C. had been getting to her more and more lately and that on the day of her death, the child had been whining and wouldn't stop.
"When asked about the other bruises on the child, the defendant explained they were from earlier accidents and from other incidents when she handled the child roughly."