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Woman pleads not guilty to charges in Iowa infant's death

PRIMGHAR, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa woman accused of helping the parents of a slain infant invent a story to cover up the baby’s injuries has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory.

Stacie Hurlburt, 49, of Sheldon, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two counts of accessory after the fact, the Sioux City Journal reported.

Police have said Hurlburt collaborated with Lawrence Ruotolo Jr., 20, and Brittanee Baker, 21, to tell authorities that the 5-month-old girl had been hurt last July by a lamp knocked over by cats in their home.

But prosecutors say the baby was actually injured by Ruotolo on July 26 when she wouldn’t stop crying. The baby was treated and released at an emergency room, but was found the next day not breathing and died July 31 at a Sioux Falls hospital. An autopsy showed the death was caused by “a suffocation event of an indeterminate nature.”

Ruotolo and Baker have each pleaded not guilty to two counts of child endangerment.