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UA student charged with murder try, child abuse

Citizen Staff Writer



A University of Arizona sophomore has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and child abuse involving a baby born in a UA dorm, authorities said.

UA Police Department officers were dispatched at about 5:40 p.m. Monday to a “medical assist” call at the Arizona-Sonora residence hall, where sophomore Sarah Elizabeth Tatum, 19, lives. They determined Tatum had given birth to a boy.

The Tucson Fire Department responded and transported Tatum and her infant to UMC for treatment and evaluation, a release states.

UAPD Commander Kevin Haywood said the call for assistance came from someone other than Tatum.

Haywood would not elaborate on what was found at the scene or on Tatum’s mental or physical state. He said the boy is alive but said he could not discuss specifics of the case because it is under investigation.

Tatum was taken into custody Wednesday morning after her release from University Medical Center. She was released from the jail later Wednesday to Pretrial Services, a jail records clerk said.

Haywood referred questions about the infant to Arizona Child Protective Services.

Liz Barker Alvarez, spokeswoman for the agency, said CPS has an “open investigation with UAPD” regarding the case.

“I can tell you the infant remains hospitalized, but I cannot comment on his condition beyond that,” Barker Alvarez said.

She could not confirm if the boy was born full term or was premature.

According to UA’s Residence Hall Association Web site, Tatum is a finance major from Scottsdale, and vice president of finances for the Residence Hall Association.

Student Affairs staff, including Counseling and Psychological Services, went to support other students at Arizona-Sonora hall immediately following the incident, according to Dean of Students Carol Thompson.

“We knew that students that knew this young lady and lived in the area where she lived in the hall would need help right away,” Thompson said. Support was also offered to members of the Residence Hall Association who served on the executive board with Tatum.

Thompson said she was not aware if Tatum had contacted anyone at UA about her situation before giving birth Monday.

She said UA is “not aware” of who the father is. The investigation will attempt to determine if anyone in the dorm knew Tatum was in distress.

Tatum has been placed on interim suspension from the UA, and is not permitted on campus until the suspension is lifted.

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