Prosecutors upgrade charge to murder against Stone County mother in death of baby

STONE COUNTY, Mo. -- A special prosecutor has upgraded charges against a woman accused in the death of her baby in the Stone County town of Crane.

Dakota Moore, 18, now faces charges of first-degree murder along with child abuse or neglect. Prosecutors originally charged her with involuntary manslaughter in the fall of 2017.

According to recent court documents, Chief Medical Examiner for St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, and Franklin Counties Dr. Mary Case reviewed the autopsy report, microscopic sections, photographs, and the report from the Stone County Sheriff's Office. After reviewing the evidence, Dr. Case found that the cause of death was asphyxiation by suffocation.

"It it my opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that this child's death was inflicted at the hands of another by suffocation. It is a homicide," Dr. Case is quoted as saying in court documents.

The autopsy also showed the nine-month-old boy suffered injuries consistent with child abuse.

However, Moore's mother is defending her daughter. She says she doesn't believe her daughter intentionally killed her child and she is standing behind her.

"I know there's no way she did what they're saying she did and I think the prosecutor's office knows that they can't make this stick. I don't even know why they're trying. You can't say she meant to do this. That's just ridiculous," Amber Creson said.

Investigators say Moore initially admitted to kicking the baby. The baby suffered fractured ribs and bruises on its scalp. She previously told detectives she left the baby to make him a bottle since he had stopped crying. She told them that she'd came back and the baby had died. She also previously told authorities she did not mean to kill the child.