Public Safety

Mother faces murder charge in baby's death in Fayette County

Alicia Rios
Alicia Rios
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A Fayette County woman faces charges of first-degree murder and child endangerment after her 5-week-old daughter died from serious head injuries.

Alicia Marie Rios, 28, was arrested in August just days after her baby was taken off life support, suffering from skull fractures that doctors said were injuries consistent with “abusive blunt force trauma to the head,” court documents show.

According to a news release from the Fayette County Sheriff’ Office, emergency personnel responded at about 12:45 p.m. on Aug. 21 to a residence in the 500 block of Main Street in Elgin for reports of an infant who was having trouble breathing.

According to an affidavit filed with the Fayette County District Court, when officers arrived on scene, they found the 5-week-old — identified as Lydia Rios — laying on the floor inside the home. The infant’s mother, Alicia Marie Rios, was kneeling over the baby “crying hysterically” the document states.

The affidavit states Rios told officers that her other child, a 2-year-old, dropped a toy on Lydia’s head.

The sheriff’s office said the baby was transported to Gundersen Palmer Lutheran Hospital in West Union where the affidavit states doctors found that the baby’s injuries “were suspicious” and alerted the Department of Human Services.

The document states the baby suffered serious head injuries and was airlifted to the American Children’s Family Hospital at the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics in Madison. 

Doctors there determined the baby was in a coma and had several skull fractures and two brain bleeds, the affidavit states. The child was put on life support.

The baby was taken off life support on Aug. 25, according to the document, and died that night. An autopsy was performed the following day and preliminary results determined the cause of death was “abusive blunt force trauma to the head,” according to the affidavit.

After a preliminary investigation, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, according to a news release. 

A second affidavit filed with the court shows the infant’s parents and grandmother were interviewed on Aug. 23.

During that interview, investigators were told Alicia Rios was home with the children on Aug. 21. According to the affidavit, Rios told investigators she was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and “threw Lydia down, striking her head on a coffee table in the living room of their home.”  

On Aug. 28, Rios, was arrested on charges of first-degree murder — a Class A felony — and child endangerment causing death — a Class B felony. If convicted, Rios could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

During their investigation, authorities filed multiple affidavits requesting several warrants to search the family’s home, to seize and search their electronic devices, and to collect DNA samples from Rios.

Rios was taken to Fayette County Jail, and authorities say she is currently awaiting her initial appearance.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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