Published 10:57 p.m. UTC Sep 2, 2018
An Alaska woman has been charged with the murder of two infants after searching the internet for “ways to kill human with no proof," police said.
Stephany LaFountain, 23, was arrested Thursday for the deaths of her four-month-old daughter in 2015 and 13-month-old daughter in 2017, according to a statement from the Fairbanks Police Department.
“This is just an unimaginable tragedy,” Fairbanks Police Chief Eric Jewkes said in a press conference. “We have a family, and, of course, we have a baby, that has suffered in obscurity, in silence.”
The second infant death sparked a nine-month investigation in which police say forensic analysis revealed LaFountain’s suspicious search history. According to the statement, in the hour before she called police to report her 13-month-old was unresponsive, her searches included:
- Ways to suffocate
- Best ways to suffocate
- Ways to kill human with no proof
- Can drowning show in an autopsy report
- 16 steps to kill someone and not get caught
- How to: Commit the Perfect Murder
- Drowning and Forensics
- Suffocating and Smothering
Authorities began the investigation after LaFountain called police about her daughter not breathing in November 2017. The child’s father was deployed at the time, and she called family who arrived and began CPR, according to the statement.
Police said the child was transported from LaFountain’s home in Fort Wainwright to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead four days later due to anoxia, or a lack of oxygen to the brain.
The child’s death caused investigators to look into the death of LaFountain's other child in 2015. That four-month-old daughter was pronounced dead a little more than an hour after LaFountain — who was in another relationship at the time — also called police to say the child wasn’t breathing.
That child’s cause of death wasn’t officially determined, but police said the symptoms were consistent with a suffocation death.
LaFountain, who was indicted on charges of first- and second- degree murder, is in custody at the Fairbanks Correctional Center. At the press conference, Jewkes, the police chief, thanked the family and the investigators for their work during the investigation.
“The entire city of Fairbanks just owes our detectives a big round of thanks,” he said. “When you investigate a case like this, it’s not just paperwork that you type. You live this case, you share in the grieving, you share in the pain.”
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