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Woman who abandoned body of son is sentenced

ST. GEORGE (AP) — Rebekah Woods, the woman who left the body of her infant son at a miniature golf course more than three years go, has been sentenced to spend time in a Salt Lake City halfway house that trains people in how to function as productive members of society.

Judge James L. Shumate sentenced Woods last week for third-degree felony desecration of a human body and class A misdemeanor negligent homicide.

Woods left the body her infant son, Oliver, in a theme house on the miniature golf course at Fiesta Family Fun Center in January 2000.

The negligent homicide charge stemmed from Woods having failed to get medical attention for Oliver after he was born sick in her motel room.

"I always (tried) my best to take care of my baby and make sure he was healthy," Woods said.

In the 3 1/2 years she has been incarcerated since her arrest, Woods has earned a high school diploma, acquired multiple skills and helped another inmate learn how to read better, defense attorney Gregory Saunders said.

Woods' changed demeanor was the result of trust and work with the attorneys and their associates and was not the result of medication, Saunders said. She does not take any medication.

"I love my son Oliver so very much, I'm sure he forgives me," Woods said. "I can't describe how much I wanted him."

During the hearing, Saunders read a summary of the circumstances that drove Woods to do what she did. He said Woods was destitute when she arrived in St. George and depressed over the death of her husband, Gus Woods.

When plans to stay with a friend did not materialize, she had the baby in a motel.

Saunders said Woods was afraid that if she took the baby to a hospital, he would be taken from her.

"It never crossed her mind he'd die," Saunders said. "She was riddled with guilt and grief when he did."