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UPDATED: Los Alamos Infant Died of Natural Causes

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 10-day-old Los Alamos baby, whose September death launched an investigation into possible wrongdoing by his mother, died of natural causes due to a brain malformation, according to an autopsy report.

Grey Vigil died from complications stemming from hydranencephaly, in which the brain is not fully formed and the skull fills with fluid. Children with this affliction typically do not survive more than a year, according to the Office of the Medical Investigator.

The report states that no physical injuries were found on the boy’s body and that he was “a well-developed, well-nourished, mildly dehydrated male infant.”

The autopsy determined that the boy’s manner of death was “natural.”

Certain circumstances surrounding the boy’s death on Sept. 24 spurred law enforcement officials to investigate whether his mother, Katrina Vigil, had anything to do with it.

A few days after being born, Grey Vigil was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital after he was found to be in “severe distress.” The next week, the boy died while in hospice care in Rio Rancho.

At the time, police reported that the infant was found in a closet by his grandmother. However, police later backtracked, saying that he may have been found on his mother’s bed.

Investigators became suspicious after learning that no one in the family took Grey to a hospital immediately, and instead waited a day after making an appointment with Los Alamos Medical Center. From there, the child was airlifted to Albuquerque.

Police also believed that Katrina Vigil may have been keeping the boy’s existence a secret from her parents, with whom she lived. That would have marked the second time she tried to keep the birth of a child under wraps.

In 2003, Vigil gave birth while in college and kept her pregnancy and the birth a secret from the biological father, according to those records. Vigil said she wanted the father “to continue his education” and told him she had suffered a miscarriage. The day after she gave birth, she “took the baby to a park and pretended that she found the baby.”

That child was adopted by a nurse.

Vigil was never charged in that 2003 case, nor has she been charged in connection with Grey Vigil’s death. But, at one point, charges appeared imminent. Former Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Padgett told the Journal in October that she anticipated charging Vigil, saying, “It’s just a matter of time.”

Now, in light of the OMI report, the case against Katrina Vigil appears to be up in the air. District Attorney Angela “Spence” Pacheco said Tuesday that she hasn’t had a chance to read the autopsy and wants to review it before any decisions are made.

Katrina Vigil’s attorney, John Day, said that the autopsy findings show that his client did nothing wrong.

“This was a tragic situation for the family,” Day said. “But there was no crime committed. Simply, it was a case of a child born without a brain who died shortly after birth.”


July 26, 2011 — Autopsy: ‘Secret’ Los Alamos Baby Died of Brain Disorder

By ABQnews Staff

The autopsy of a 10-day-old baby boy born last fall to a Los Alamos woman after a secret pregnancy shows that he died of natural causes, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

Los Alamos police originally reported that the infant had been hidden in a closet after his birth on Sept. 24 and was found there three days later by his grandmother, but police later backed off that report, The New Mexican said.

The state Office of the Medical Investigator released its report 10 months after the event, saying the baby was born with hydranencephaly, a rare brain disorder that usually causes death within a year, the paper reported.

First Judicial District Attorney Angela “Spence” Pacheco said her office is still reviewing the findings and other evidence to see whether it will proceed with criminal charges against the mother, 25-year-old Katrina Vigil, The New Mexican said.

“This is a sad and tragic situation for the family,” Vigil’s attorney John Day told The New Mexican. “But there is no evidence of criminal activity or intent.”


7:20am 10/7/10 — Police Now Say Los Alamos Baby Was Found in Bed, Not in Closet: Baby’s death could jeopardize grandmother’s license to provide day-care for kids.

The grandmother of Grey Vigil, the infant boy born secretly to a Los Alamos woman late last month, is a registered home-care provider who is allowed to watch up to six children at a time in her house, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

The grandmother, who has not been accused of any wrongdoing, found the infant three days after her 25-year-old daughter, Katrina Vigil, gave birth to him in the Los Alamos home they share, The New Mexican said. It was the grandmother who brought the newborn to the hospital the following day, police have said.

The state Children, Youth and Families Department is looking into whether the baby’s death on Monday will affect the grandmother’s ability to conduct her child-care business, the paper reported.

Meanwhile, The New Mexican has confirmed that initial reports that the grandmother found the baby in a closet were incorrect.

“Based on our initial conversations with doctors and other people at the hospital and a search of the home later that day, we still have reason to believe the baby was hidden in a closet at some point, but it looks like the grandmother said she actually discovered the baby laying on a bed. She didn’t say she found the baby in a closet,” Los Alamos Police Capt. Randy Foster said.

Police, prosecutors and state medical investigators are still awaiting an autopsy on the baby, who died Monday at a Rio Rancho hospice, The New Mexican said.

Foster has said his investigators and the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Office are looking into possible child abuse and abandonment charges against the mother, the paper reported.

John Day, the Santa Fe attorney representing Katrina Vigil, told The New Mexican: “We’re still waiting for the autopsy results, too, and waiting to gather all the facts before commenting any further.”


5:35am 10/5/10 — Los Alamos Infant Dies: DA weighs charges against mom who allegedly hid newborn in closet last month.

Grey Vigil, the infant boy who was born Sept. 24 at a Los Alamos residence and was allegedly kept hidden in a closet for three days, died Monday, police sources told the Los Alamos Monitor.

Police said evidence indicates that Katrina Vigil, 25, gave birth to the child at the home where she lives with her parents, the Monitor said.

“It appears Katrina hid the existence of the baby from her parents until Holly Vigil discovered him in the closet on Monday (Sept. 27),” Capt. Randy Foster told the Monitor. “On Tuesday, Holly contacted the hospital for an appointment to have the newborn seen by doctors. Doctors said the baby was ‘in severe medical distress’ when it arrived at the hospital and was airlifted to (University of New Mexico Hospital).”

It appears the baby was full-term, Foster told the paper, adding that his department is conducting a child abuse investigation, but charges against the infant’s mother had not yet been filed.

Katrina Vigil was arrested Sept. 29 on unrelated charges involving two outstanding DWI warrants from Bernalillo County, the Monitor said.

Court documents show that Vigil also had a baby in 2003, giving birth to a baby boy on Oct. 18, 2003, while alone in her dormitory room at Eastern New Mexico University, then took the baby to a park and pretended she had found the child, who was later placed in the custody of the state Children, Youth and Families Department, according to the Monitor.