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Mom and boyfriend charged in toddler's brain-injury death

Brendan Dalton{ } (Photo: Iron County Sheriff's Office)

CEDAR CITY, Utah (AP) — A southern Utah mother and her boyfriend have been charged with child abuse and murder in the death of her 14-month-old daughter.

The Spectrum newspaper reports Cherokee Dea and Brendan R. Dalton of Cedar City were charged Wednesday, months after the child died of severe brain injuries. Prosecutors say she also had older injuries, morphine her in her urine and a previous hospitalization for dehydration.

Prosecutors say 24-year-old Dea and 30-year-old Dalton were regular drug users, and a witness had previously seen Dea shake her daughter.

Authorities say Dalton told police the child went into a sudden spasm that ended in her death while the couple was fighting in April.

Prosecutors say a complex autopsy report that took months to complete delayed charges.

No attorneys or publicly listed phone numbers were immediately available for the defendants.

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This story has been corrected to show the child died in April 2017, not April 2016.

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