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Asking why

Apr 24, 2014 - By Steven R. Peck

Establishing motive is an important part of the probe into a baby's death

No one learning the details surrounding the arrest of the young Wind River Indian Reservation woman for the death of her newborn baby could help but be shocked by the information.

The fact of the death itself, along with the details specific to this case, combine to form an awful picture.

The so-called wheels of justice began to turn quickly, just as they must. This case must be investigated, prosecuted and judged under the law. Civil society demands it. That point is incontestable.

But our law also provides for examination into circumstances other than the simple act itself. While no deliberate act resulting in the death of a human being, particularly of a helpless infant, can be justified in any but the most extraordinary circumstances bordering on the unimaginable, our law and our society can be better and more responsive if motive can be determined, considered and evaluated.

Young Ardis Sierra Enos is accused of killing her own baby under bizarre circumstances. If she did it, there was a reason. A reason is not the same as an excuse or justification, but it is a reason nonetheless. She did what she did for a reason. If we can better understand that reason, then we will be better able to prevent future crimes such as this.

Law enforcement authorities have announced that the accused mother will undergo an extensive psychiatric evaluation as part of the investigation into the killing of her newborn. Given the details of the case reported so far, that sounds like an excellent idea.

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Wind River Indian Reservation