ST. GEORGE — A woman faces a felony child neglect charge after allegedly becoming belligerent with officers attempting to help her and her infant find lodging as temperatures dropped below freezing in Cedar City.
The arrest stems from an incident that began shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday when officers were dispatched to a domestic call involving a woman who reported she was being stalked.
Officers responded to the area in search of the caller, who they found walking along West Industrial Road pushing an infant in a baby stroller, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of the arrest.
The child appeared to be about four months old, the officer noted in the report.
When officers approached, the woman allegedly became “immediately belligerent” and refused to answer any of the officer’s questions as they attempted to assist her with the stalking call. Officers also noted it was 27 degrees outside when they first made contact with the woman, and they advised her it was “far too cold” to have the child outside.
According to the report, the woman, later identified as 33-year-old Crystalline Verrill, continued arguing with the officer, telling him the baby was bundled up in a blanket to keep warm.
The officer noted that the woman was involved in an incident hours before when she was kicked out of the home where she was employed as a nanny about 2 miles from where officers found her. Officers checked on the infant and found the baby to be wrapped in a blanket that was insufficient to keep him warm in such frigid weather.
It was also determined that Verrill had been walking with the infant for several hours after she left the home where she had been living and working. She allegedly left shortly before 10 p.m., and possibly even earlier, since the woman told police she had left shortly after 5 p.m. the previous evening.
Officers then learned that Verrill allegedly became angry and left the home after the owners asked her not to smoke in the house, and then stated she was abused. When the officer asked Verrill if she had money for a hotel, she reportedly said she had $40 that was not on her, adding that she wouldn’t waste her money on a hotel.
Officers also learned that Verrill had previous encounters with Cedar City Care and Share and the Women’s Crisis Shelter, but was not allowed back at either facility.
The officer then drove Verrill to the area of 800 West, where one of the woman’s friends lived. But when they arrived, she refused to tell police the address, nor would she show them where the home was located.
At that point, the officer “began to believe that she had no plans or intentions of staying off the streets for the night” and ran a background check on the woman that revealed previous contacts with police, including incidents where Verrill told officers she was homeless when she was found walking around with the baby, the officer noted in the report.
According to police, Verrill allegedly exposed the infant to frigid temperatures for an extended period of time without any plans for seeking shelter, adding that the weather was “incompatible with the safety and well-being of her child,” then she refused to give officers any location where she could stay and she remained belligerent as they continued to try and help her.
Verrill was then arrested and the Department of Children and Family Services was contacted for the infant, while the suspect was transported and booked into the Iron County Jail facing third-degree felony child abuse — inflict serious bodily injury recklessly.
According to court records, the officer also noted that the infant could be placed in substantial danger if released back into the suspect’s custody.
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