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Teen going to trial in desecration case

A 17-year-old girl will be prosecuted in Sanpete County Juvenile Court in the desecration of a human body, a third-degree felony, for allegedly throwing her stillborn infant's body into a trash container that was emptied into a local landfill.

Deputy Sanpete County Attorney Brody Keisel said no remains have been found, despite an extensive search by the Sanpete County Sheriff's Office beginning May 4.

The search involved a sizeable area in the White Hills Landfill that has been identified as the place most likely to contain the child's remains.

The county attorney's office and sheriff's office eventually decided that further searching was futile, but the case is heading to court based on the teenager's admissions.

She has insisted that the child was born dead.

Keisel said he wants the young woman's case to go forward in 6th District Juvenile Court so she will end up getting the treatment and counseling that she needs. If any punishment is found appropriate, that will be decided by the judge.

Keisel also wants to send a message of deterrence to other teens in the same situation: "This is not the way to go about it."

If a teenage girl ends up with an unplanned pregnancy, Keisel said she should ask for help from parents, other reliable adults or people in leadership positions whom the girl can trust.

Using that approach, he said, the pregnancy can be dealt with in a better way and there might be a more favorable outcome than this situation — both for the fetus and the mother.

He said he understands how young girls can be deeply frightened and ashamed about an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, but said there are resources available to help in such cases.

"We want to encourage people to go about it in a responsible, mature and prudent fashion, for the health of the baby and the mother, too."

e-mail: lindat@desnews.com