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Evaluation ordered for woman charged with killing newborn

Apr 18, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

A psychiatric evaluation is being sought in the case of an Eastern Shoshone woman charged with killing her newborn son in March.

Court documents indicate her competency to stand trial is in question.

A detention hearing and preliminary examination were scheduled for Friday in the case against Ardis Sierra Enos, 20, of Ethete, but both were delayed after the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a motion Thursday seeking a mental or psychiatric evaluation.

Prosecutors and Ardis's federal public defender jointly filed a motion to postpone the hearings, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Teresa McKee ordered the continuance.

"The United States has filed a motion for psychiatric or psychological examination," the motion stated. "The defendant is not opposing that motion and would like to continue her detention hearing and preliminary hearing until such time as the court issues its order determining the defendant's competency."

Charge

Ardis faces a charge of first-degree murder, punishable by up to life in prison.

An affidavit in the case stated Ardis suffocated her son March 26, minutes after giving birth to him alone in her family home at 458 Plunkett Road on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

Ardis reportedly told officials that she had not known she was pregnant until she was four months along, and she did not tell her family about her condition out of fear.

After killing the baby, the defendant reportedly left the body in a dry ditch on her property and did not tell anyone about it.

Investigators found the body of an infant wrapped in a towel and lying in a ditch at the Plunkett Road address the next day, according to the affidavit.

Complications from the birth drove Ardis to go to Lander Regional Hospital, where she first denied having been pregnant, according to the affidavit. Later, she reportedly told a doctor she had recently given birth to a stillborn baby. The doctor contacted the authorities.

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