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Mother accused of killing one-month-old baby by putting her in oven for a nap

Mariah Thomas, 26, in mug shot  (Jackson County Detention Center)
Mariah Thomas, 26, in mug shot (Jackson County Detention Center)

A Kansas City mother has been charged with a felony after she allegedly placed her newborn baby inside an oven, killing her.

Mariah Thomas, 26, said the infant’s death was a mistake, saying she thought she’d put the one-month-old in her crib for a nap on Friday, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Independent.

However, she had actually “accidentally put her in the oven,” she claimed.

Police responded to the woman’s home after a 911 call reporting a “non-breathing infant”.

There, emergency responders found the one-month-old baby, named Za’Riah, with burn wounds and wearing melted clothing. She was declared dead at the scene.

Ms Thomas was arrested and charged with endangerment of a child resulting in death.

A close friend of Ms Thomas, who spoke anonymously to The Daily Beast, said she doesn’t believe her friend wanted to kill her newborn daughter.

“Mariah has been dealing with mental illnesses since a child,” the friend said, adding that she stopped taking her medication when she got pregnant.

In the month since giving birth, her mental health worsened, the friend said. She felt lonely, and spoke about feeling like people didn’t care about her — only her baby.

“She thought everyone only likes her because her daughter was born, and she didn’t like that at all,” the friend said. “She wanted everyone’s attention, too, just like Za’Riah was getting attention.”

Even so, Ms Thomas loved her daughter and motherhood, the friend said.

“She didn’t mean to hurt her baby,” she said. “She loved her baby dearly.”

Now, Ms Thomas is facing between 10 and 30 years in prison on the charges.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker thanked the first responders and prosecutors who responded to the harrowing scene.

“We acknowledge the gruesome nature of this tragedy and our hearts are weighted by the loss of this precious life,” Ms Baker said. “We trust the criminal justice system to respond appropriately to these awful circumstances.”