Hamilton mother accused of smothering infant daughter found competent for trial

A Hamilton mother charged in the death of her infant daughter has been found competent to stand trial.

Saralin Walden, 25, of Jeff Scott Lane, was in Butler County Common Pleas Court today for a competency evaluation hearing. She is accused of rolling over on her daughter, Rae’Anna, while she was asleep on Oct. 23 and smothering her. The infant was pronounced dead five days later at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, according to prosecutors.

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Defense attorney Ramona Daniels filed motions related to Walden’s mental state at the time of the incident. In addition to competency, a “not guilty by reason of insanity” plea was also filed.

After reviewing a forensic psychological evaluation, Judge Charles Pater ruled Walden was competent and the insanity plea would not move forward. The issue can be raised again at trial by the defense. A trial date of Oct. 14 was set by the judge.

Prosecutors claim Walden was using “illegal substances either at the time of or within close proximity to the time of her caring for her child, and passed out and/or fell asleep on top of the infant suffocating the infant,” according to court documents.

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A Butler County grand jury in early March indicted Walden for a pair of felony charges, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering. Days after the indictment, Pater set her bond at $50,000 at an arraignment hearing.

In addition to the two charges in Butler County, Walden also faces a felony charge of aggravated possession of drugs out of Hamilton County. On Dec. 15, 2018, she was arrested for possession of methamphetamine during a traffic stop, according to court records.

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