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'Frustrated' Mom Smothers 'Nonstop Crying' 9-Month-Old Son, Stages Scene to ‘Cover up What She Did’: Affidavit

Penn. Baby Died, Mom Staged Scene to 'Cover up What She Did': Cops
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9-month-old baby died and now the mother is accused of staging the scene in order to cover up what she did, police said.

Feb. 2 2024, Published 2:02 p.m. ET

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A 21-year-old mother in Pennsylvania has been arrested after she allegedly admitted to smothering her 9-month-old son and then staging his crib to make it look like he’d somehow gotten stuck, according to authorities.

On Jan. 6, officers responded to a home in Indiana Borough regarding a call about an unresponsive infant, shows an affidavit obtained by WJAC.

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At the scene, police found the child with no pulse and he wasn’t breathing, but medics were able to regain a pulse at a local hospital, authorities said.

The baby was transferred to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he died five days later.

Court documents state the boy’s mother, Patricia Hullenbaugh, initially told police that she put her baby down for a nap and when she returned an hour later, he was “hanging” partially outside the crib, face down on the mattress.

Hullenbaugh said she called the boy’s father for help, who told her to call 911 as he started CPR, authorities said.

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During the investigation, police said, detectives conducted “reenactments” of how the baby was found, and Hullenbaugh allegedly changed her story.

Hullenbaugh allegedly told police that she checked on the boy three times after putting him down for the nap because he was “nonstop crying,” claiming she was “frustrated” with the crying, according to the affidavit.

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Murder

After the boy died, police questioned Hullenbaugh again, and she admitted to “smothering” him with a blanket, police said.

The infant stopped breathing, which is when Hullenbaugh said she “panicked” and adjusted the crib’s slats to “cover up what she did.” She then waited 15 minutes before waking up the boy’s father, authorities said.

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On Jan. 31, Hullenbaugh was arraigned and charged with criminal homicide, child endangerment and strangulation, officials said.

She was denied bail and her next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 8.

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