Phoenix woman accused of smothering newborn daughter

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 1 at 11:37 AM

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PHOENIX -- A Phoenix woman is facing a first-degree murder charge in the apparent smothering death of her infant daughter.

Nina Koistinen, 36, was arrested Thursday and booked into the Maricopa County Jail.

On April 8, Phoenix police officers responded to a home near Thunderbird Road and 52nd Street regarding a 6-day-old baby who was not breathing, according to Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

Maya Koistinen was transported to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Homicide detectives began a death investigation. The initial information provided by Koistinen was that she apparently fell asleep while nursing Maya in bed and her husband discovered the unresponsive baby under her arm.

An autopsy showed possible signs of suffocation and a review of past Child Protective Services records found Koistinen had made statements about wanting to smother some of her children and about wanting her children to go to heaven when in a vehicle accident that appeared intentional, according to court documents.

Detectives interviewed her a second time and said she admitted to smothering the baby because she thought she had too many kids already and she was jealous of the attention her husband was giving Maya, the documents showed.

According to the police report, the baby's father was put in the interview room with Koistinen and she "admitted to him that she pinched Maya's nose, twisted, suffocated and smothered baby Maya."

At Koistinen's initial appearance in court, her husband told the judge that she "suffers from bipolar, schizophrenia and depression" and they have tried for years to manage it.

"She's been mixed up before where she, you know, thinks I'm God or when she's not on her medication, things aren't right and she needs serious mental help," Bradley Koistinen said as he choked back tears.

"She has been the greatest mother ... to our kids. Never once has hurt any of our kids," he added.

Koistinen is being held on a secured bond of $1 million. 

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