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Already in prison for separate crime, woman to be charged in death of 7-week-old boy

Mar 29, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

When Crystal Lynn Dresser, 28, of Riverton, is released from federal prison on an unrelated matter in May, she will be arrested on a Fremont County warrant for child abuse and criminally negligent homicide in the October 2012 death of her 7-week-old son, Leviticus Whiteman.

The Fremont County Coroner lists Whiteman's death as a homicide due to overlay asphyxia. The infant, age 7 weeks and 3 days, reportedly died Oct. 14 in the 400 block of Spruce Street in Riverton.

Officers said they were called to the home at about 10:30 a.m. that day on a report of a possibly deceased infant. They said Whiteman was not breathing when they arrived; officials reportedly tried to resuscitate the infant for about 20 minutes, but Whiteman was determined to be deceased.

Parents

The baby was the son of Dresser and Shaw Esau Whiteman, who were at the scene, according to an affidavit signed by Riverton Police Department Detective Mike Phillips.

"During interviews, Dresser and Whiteman admitted to sleeping in the same bed with (the baby) and waking up to notice that (the baby) was not breathing," Phillips wrote. "Both Dresser and Whiteman admitted to drinking alcohol on the previous evening."

While on scene, officers reportedly obtained breath samples from the parents, recording Dresser's blood-alcohol content at a .17 and Whiteman's at .09.

"Law enforcement further observed that an adult person had recently urinated in the bed that Dresser, Whiteman and (the baby) had been sleeping (in)," Phillips wrote. "Law enforcement further discovered an empty pint-sized bottle of Captain Morgan Rum in a garbage can in the room where the three had been sleeping."

Warrant

During an interview on Nov. 5, 2012, Dresser reportedly said she "probably" accidentally rolled over on her baby. She has been serving out an unrelated sentence for assault of an individual under 16 at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, Calif., but she is scheduled to be released May 1.

At that time, the 9th Judicial District Circuit Court of Riverton has ordered the Fremont County Sheriff's Office to "apprehend and take" Dresser and bring her back to be "dealt with according to law." According to court documents, Dresser is charged with child abuse -- a felony punishable by not more than five years in custody -- and criminally negligent homicide -- a misdemeanor punishable by not more than one year in custody, a fine of not more than $2,000, or both.

The court defines "child abuse" as occurring when an adult responsible for a child's welfare recklessly inflicts physical injury upon the child. The other charge is defined as occurring when a person causes the death of another individual by conduct amounting to criminal negligence.

Charging documents indicated Dresser's bail will be set at $10,000.

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