- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A woman who reportedly confessed to law enforcement officers in California last month that she abused her infant daughter in Montana and may have caused her death made an initial appearance in Justice Court in Yellowstone County on Wednesday.

Amanda Rose Steffen-Gilbert, 23, was charged with negligent homicide, aggravated assault and criminal endangerment along with two counts of assault on a minor, The Billings Gazette (https://bit.ly/1sVS7r8) reported.

She did not enter a plea. Justice of the Peace David Carter continued her bond at $250,000 and ordered her to appear in district court on June 5.

Steffen-Gilbert’s daughter died in June 2012, when she was 3 months old, according to the charging documents.

The baby had a healing skull fracture and bruising on the left side of her head as well as other injuries and signs of dehydration, but an autopsy was not able to determine a cause of death, court records said. There was not enough evidence to file charges, although both parents were suspects.

On April 18, Steffen-Gilbert walked into the Sonoma County sheriff’s office in California and told a detective that both she and the girl’s father were abusive, Sgt. Kevin Iffland said. “The defendant stated that the abuse she perpetrated may have played a role in the baby’s death,” court records said.

Steffen-Gilbert told officers she began abusing the baby when she was about two weeks old. She acknowledged putting the baby in a car seat for long periods of time, shaking her and sometimes shutting her in a closet, charging documents said. She said she fractured the baby’s skull by punching her forehead and slapped her when she spit up, prosecutors said.

Steffen-Gilbert told the California detective that she put the girl in a closet while in a car seat in June 2012 and when she went to check on her she was dead, court records said.

Steffen-Gilbert was returned to Montana on Tuesday.

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Information from: The Billings Gazette, https://www.billingsgazette.com

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