Coroner Reports Baby Died from Extreme Dehydration

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SALINE COUNTY, Mo. --  According to the Saline County coroner, an 18-month-old baby who was missing for a couple of days died from extreme dehydration. FOX 4 has learned  new details about an 18-month-old baby found dead in southern Saline County, Missouri over the weekend.

Investigators say Lydia Iliff and her baby girl were first reported missing last Thursday.  Early Sunday morning volunteers and sheriff's deputies found the baby dead on the bank of the Blackwater River.

Neighbor Pat Steinkuler says Saturday night a naked, disoriented and extremely thirsty Lydia Iliff ran out of a cornfield, with cuts all over her body, to the home of Steinkuhler's friend. It's after Iliff told neighbors her car broke down and she got lost in a cornfield in 100 degree heat.

"She was so cut up and she was barefooted. The bottom of her feet had blisters on them from walking in that bare corn," said Pat Steinkuhler. "She told us she got lost on thursday and it was Saturday night at 11:15 when she showed up at my friend's house, " Steinkuhler added.

Iliff told the neighbors what she remembered about her ordeal.

"She said she was so hot and tired that she absolutely could not pack this baby anymore," she said. "She remembered leaving it by a creek and said she tried to put it in a safe place by some logs and under shade trees, so it might be cooler.

Saline County Sheriff Wally George says investigators haven't been able to talk to the 32-year-old mother about her baby's death because Iliff remains under observation in a Marshall hospital.

According to George, on Thursday state probation officials served Iliff with a warrant saying that she violated the terms of her probation on fraud charges, and now authorities are waiting for her impending arrest.

FOX 4 was told Iliff has two older children - both are now in the custody of Child Protective Services.

Investigators are speaking with Iliff's mother, hoping to gain more information that will help with the investigation.

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