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Mother in infant homicide case says she doesn't know how toddler died

Posted at 10:11 PM, Nov 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-30 05:36:47-05

CINCINNATI -- Faith Phifer, the young mother whose 15-month-old son's death was Tuesday labeled a homicide, said Wednesday evening she never suspected anything was wrong on the night of his death. 

Phifer said she had taken her son, Elijah Obrecht Jr., with her when she slept over at her boyfriend's Walnut Hills home the night of July 4. She lay next to him on his sleeping pallet and waited for him to drift off before she left to be with her boyfriend.

It was until she tried to wake him up the following morning that she saw the mottled purple color of his face and realized she needed to take him to the hospital.

"I was just holding him up to my chest and I wasn't feeling any heartbeat, any breathing," she said. "I just kept praying to God, like, 'Please let my baby be okay. Let me feel something.'"

Doctors told Phifer on arrival that her son was dead, and detectives took statements from her and her boyfriend.

She said didn't hear anything from law enforcement until Tuesday, when police formally declared the boy's death a homicide and took her in for more questioning. Although no charges have been filed, Phifer claimed one detective told her she was responsible for her son's death. 

"He just puts it on the table and gives me my stuff back and kind of says to me, 'Well, this isn't over. You will be back,'" she claimed.

Neither Phifer nor her attorney had seen the coroner's report on her son by Wednesday night, but she insisted again she had nothing to do with her son's death.

"What is happening is wrong and I want an answer," she said. "I did not do this. … It hurts me to see even some of my closest friends from high school sharing this news, sharing false information and saying, 'How could they do this?'" 

The Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office told WCPO it did not expect to file charges against Phifer.

Anyone with information about the circumstances of Obrecht Jr.'s death should call Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.