Portland couple pleads not guilty to killing newborn

The newborn died from methamphetamine intoxication and neonatal pneumonia

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The couple accused of murdering a newborn appeared in Multnomah County Circuit Court Monday, and both entered pleas of not guilty to a secret grand jury indictment.

Jamie David Mangus, 34, and Sarah Suzanne Mangus, 29, are both charged with one count each of murder by abuse and first-degree manslaughter.

Officials said Krystal Mangus died April 12, 2014 – the day she was born. The Multnomah County Medical Examiner’s Office told KOIN 6 News the newborn died from methamphetamine intoxication and neonatal pneumonia.The meth was likely transferred from the placenta to the newborn.

Jamie Mangus (left) and Sarah Mangus, July 11, 2014 (Multnomah County Sheriff's Office)
Jamie Mangus (left) and Sarah Mangus, July 11, 2014 (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

According to the indictment, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office brought eleven witnesses before the grand jury. Most of the witnesses included detectives and child abuse doctors, but DA’s Office also included neighbors of the Mangus’.

The Mangus’ unlawfully and recklessly, under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life caused the newborn’s death by “neglect and maltreatment,” court documents state.

The investigation started April 12 when a 911 call was placed from a residence near North Newman Avenue and North Girard Street, police said.

Emergency dispatchers learned that a baby was not breathing. Despite efforts by first responders, the child died. Officers requested the assistance from detectives with the Portland Police Bureau Homicide Detail.

A woman who identified herself as Marie Dakota attended Monday’s arraignment. Dakota said she is Sarah Mangus’ mother, and would have been Krystal’s grandmother.

She said Krystal was 12-hours old at the time of her death.

“The baby looked good,” Dakota said. “I held the baby, the baby cried. The baby had good color.”

Dakota described Sarah as “a good kid” who is “highly intelligent,” and said she did not know why there was a criminal investigation against her daughter.

A spokesperson said detectives were able to determine that the child had been born at a different location in North Portland and had not received any medical attention.

Police, citing on the on-going nature of the investigation, have declined to release additional details about the death.

The case was presented to a grand jury and on July 8 a secret indictment was issued.

Both suspects, through their court appointed attorneys, entered not guilty pleas.

The couple has been ordered not to have contact with each other.

A tentative trial date has been set for August 26, 2014 with Judge Henry Kantor.

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