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Mother Accused Of Child Abuse Resulting In Death Of 3-Month-Old Boy

By Karen Morfitt

GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) - A mother from Golden is facing first-degree murder charges in the death of her 3-month-old child.

Bethany Joy Smith, 21, is currently being held without bond at the Jefferson County Detention Facility.

According to arrest paperwork, Smith confessed to throwing the child and told investigators she believes she may have been suffering from postpartum depression.

On May 20 the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office responded to a home on Lookout Mountain Circle about a child who had stopped breathing. Three-month-old Skyler Smith was rushed to the hospital but did not survive. An autopsy revealed he had suffered multiple skull fractures.

Bethany Joy Smith
Bethany Joy Smith (credit: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)

According to court documents, on June 2, nearly two weeks after the child's death, Smith's father contacted the sheriff's office saying he had learned what happened to Skyler. He brought Smith in to speak with investigators. Court documents show it was during that interview that Smith admitted to abusing the child but also believed she had suffered from postpartum depression.

According to Sarah Scott, a certified midwife at Rose Medical Center, postpartum depression is a common mood disorder that can affect women following child birth.

"Usually it's related to the changes your body goes through after pregnancy," she said.

The court documents show Smith then told investigators she had previous thoughts of harming her child and that she was afraid to tell friends and family because "she was embarrassed."

Scott says those feelings are not unheard of for some suffering from postpartum depression.

"Women feel guilty that they have this beautiful baby that they in most cases have wanted for a long time, so they feel guilty, feeling depressed or feeling overwhelmed," Scott said.

Smith will return to a Jefferson County courtroom on Thursday for filing of charges.

Karen Morfitt Joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around metro Denver. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.

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