Billings woman confesses in California to abusing 3-month-old

2014-04-22T14:41:00Z 2014-06-10T10:57:44Z Billings woman confesses in California to abusing 3-month-oldBy CHRIS CIOFFI ccioffi@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A woman who was suspected in the death of her child in Billings in 2012 has confessed to abusing the 3-month-old girl.

Amanda Rose Steffan walked into the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office in California on Friday and admitted she had abused her baby, whose initials were R.F., in Billings in 2012, according to Billings Police Lt. Kevin Iffland.

The child's father also was suspected, but never charged. 

Her reason for confessing is not clear, Iffland said.

Steffan was not charged in 2012 because there was insufficient evidence. 

A coroner's examination proved inconclusive, and a cause for the baby girl's death was ruled undetermined.

When she was interviewed by police in 2012, Steffan said she put the baby down for a nap. When she checked on the child, she was not breathing and blue.

"When everything was turned over to the county attorney's office, there was not enough probable cause to charge anyone at the time," Iffland said. 

In her confession, Steffan said she began abusing the baby about two weeks after it was born and believed her abuse could have contributed to the baby's death, Iffland said. 

Steffan admitted to putting the child in a car seat for long periods of time, shaking her, and sometimes shutting her in a closet.

Steffan went on to confess that she would suffocate the baby by putting her thumb in the child's mouth for 30 seconds at a time. She also said had fractured the baby's skull by punching her in the forehead and slapping her very hard when she spit up. 

In light of the confession, Steffan has been charged with two counts of felony assault on a minor, one count of felony aggravated assault, one count of felony criminal endangerment and one count of felony negligent homicide.

The Billings Police Investigations Division is continuing to do follow-up investigation on her statement. The Yellowstone County Attorney’s office will be handling Steffan's extradition. 

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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