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Police issue a warrant for baby’s parents

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PROVO — An arrest warrant has been issued for parents who allegedly put their dead 9-month-old baby in a black garbage bag and then buried it in a Payson cherry orchard.

A national warrant was issued Thursday — with $20,000 cash-only bail — for Baldemar Reyes Espino, the 22-year-old father, and the 19-year-old mother, Yudit Nava Lopez, for investigation of desecration of a dead body.

Charges have not yet been filed in 4th District Court, but a case was opened under the title of "investigate matter," according to court documents.

Results of medical examinations of the baby's body and blood tests to determine a cause of death are still pending. The results from the state crime lab testing could take as long as two weeks, said Utah County Sheriff Sgt. Mike Brower.

"Everything's not hinging on the reports," Brower said. "We have other avenues we're pursuing to find out what happened to the baby."

On Oct. 28, after days of searching, the sheriff's officers found buried in a shallow grave the body of Perla Reyes, whom the parents had called "Stephanie." They were acting on a tip from a man in Payson.

At the time, officers believed the baby's parents had already fled to Mexico. However, an international warrant has not been issued at this point, Brower said, because if the couple were found in Mexico and extradited to the United States on the warrant of desecration of a dead body, that's the only charge that could be brought against them.

If the autopsy reports bring to light other information, authorities may want to press forward on different charges, Brower said.

After finding the baby's body, Provo police got a search warrant for the couple's Provo apartment, near 800 E. 50 South.

Officers found blood stains in the child's bedroom near a crib, blood in the hallway and bathroom and a blood-stained blanket, according to information from a police arrest warrant affidavit filed Thursday in 4th District Court.

The Payson man told police the baby's father went to his house Oct. 18 and said his daughter had died. He then said he and his wife and two other children were leaving for Mexico, according to the police report.

The father said he didn't contact police about the death because the baby had a bruise on her forehead that became larger after she died, and he didn't want to get in trouble, according to the report.

The father also said the baby "drowned when she drank from her bottle," according to the police report. The informant told police he had also heard that the father claimed the baby had fallen down some stairs and died.

Another informant told police she had heard that the mother hit the baby with "something hard," and that the couple had buried the baby in a black garbage bag, according to the police report.

Provo police found the couple's white truck at a Greyhound Bus Station in Provo on Oct. 27 and learned through later interviews with station employees that a man and his family had arrived in that truck and purchased three tickets to Guadalajara, Mexico, according to the report.

The couple had moved from Payson to Provo on Sept. 30 and began leasing a basement apartment on Oct. 1, according to the report.


E-mail: sisraelsen@desnews.com