Loved ones mourn Utah girl who died on eve of 1st birthday; father booked for child abuse

Posted at 7:26 PM, Aug 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-19 21:26:33-04

MONROE, Utah -- While playing with her kids in the park, Rachel Shire recalls the painful day she had to tell them about them about the death of their friend, Siri, who died one day before her first birthday.

"I told my youngest one that Siri got to go to heaven and that she wouldn’t be around anymore, and she wouldn’t be able to come over anymore," Shire said.

Siri had spent a lot of time at Shire's home when Siri's mother had been living there. Siri's mom told Shire she needed to escape from her abusive partner, David Anderson, who had full custody of Siri.

"If he was as abusive as she says, it was all about power for him, to keep control," Shire said. "He didn’t want those kids, but yet he didn’t want her to have them at the same time."

When Siri was found unresponsive in her crib back in June, Shire said she had a feeling Anderson was responsible.

"I had felt at the beginning that he had really done something to her," Shire said.

According to the Sevier County District Attorney, Anderson was not providing Siri with food or water, which ultimately led to her death the day before her first birthday.

Shire says it's a heartbreaking end for a baby who had giggled constantly and brought so much joy to the people around her.

"She was such a happy baby, and for her to be taken away so soon, it's really hard to believe and hard to think how that could happen," Shire said.

Anderson has his first court appearance on Monday. He is charged with child abuse homicide as a second-degree felony.

His parents are major donors at Utah State University. Just recently, a new engineering building was named in their honor.

The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition states that free, confidential help and support is available for victims and survivors of domestic violence 24/7. Those resources are available by calling 1-800-897-5465 or visiting the group's website.  Anyone facing an emergency situation should dial 911 rather than the hotline.