Salem mother charged with murdering infant daughter to hire private attorney

MARION COUNTY — A 23-year-old Salem woman charged with the Tuesday murder of her infant daughter has indicated she will be hiring a private attorney to defend her against the two First Degree Murder charges against her.

Christina Thomason(Credit: MCSO)
Christina Thomason (Credit: MCSO)

Christina Thomason was formally charged Thursday morning in Marion County Court with the two Class M felonies that are each punishable by between 20 and 60 years in prison, if she is convicted.

Despite posts Wednesday on her Facebook page indicating she was seeking financial help through two GoFundMe pages had been started to help with funeral costs for her 3-month-old daughter Aribella, Thomason said in court Thursday that she would be hiring a private attorney to represent her. She is next scheduled to appear in court on April 1. Thomason remains in the Marion County Jail, with bail set at $1 million.

State’s Attorney Matt Wilzbach told X95 Wednesday that Count 1 of the charges against Thomason is based upon her intent to kill, or cause great bodily harm to her baby, and Count 2 is based upon her knowing her actions created a strong probability of the infant’s death.

Wilzbach says after evidence in the case didn’t match Thomason’s initial story, the Child Death Review Task Force brought her in a second time for questioning and she admitted to the circumstances that led up to the suffocation death of her daughter.

Three deputies escort Christina Thomason from the Marion County Jail to the courthouse to be arraigned on charges she murdered her infant daughter
(Credit: Mallory Seals) Three deputies escort Christina Thomason from the Marion County Jail to the courthouse to be arraigned on charges she murdered her infant daughter

According to Wilzbach, Thomason admitted she could not get the baby to stop crying, so she put the baby in the bassinet, covered herface, mouth and nose with blankets and then went away for an hour and called 911 when she returned and the baby wasn’t breathing.

Wilzbach says during the hour she waited after allegedly placing the blankets over the baby’s face, Thomason spent 10 to 15 minutes in the bathroom until the Aribella stopped crying, then took about a 35 minute shower and got her 2-year-old daughter out of bed.

Thomason then reportedly checked on the baby and made the 911 call that the baby was not breathing. Wilzbach says Thomason, who was the only adult present at the time of the incident, acted calmly during the call.

During the questioning, Thomason reportedly brought up seeing CSI type shows where it took about an hour for a baby to suffocate.

The baby’s body was taken to Bloomington on Tuesday afternoon for a specialized autopsy. Based upon her initial statements, investigators were unable to recreate Thomason’s first explanation of how the baby died, and so they brought her back for additional questioning.

Thomason has two other children, the 2-year-old daughter was taken into protective custody and a shelter hearing is scheduled for Thursday. A male child was already living with other relatives.