After a Fairbanks woman's toddler died last year, police reopened an investigation into the death of another of her children and charged her with murder in both cases.
Stephany E. LaFountain, 23, was indicted on two charges each of first- and second- degree murder in the deaths of her two daughters, who died in September 2015 and November 2017, respectively, the Fairbanks Police Department said Thursday.
On the evening of Nov. 20, LaFountain had called emergency dispatchers in Fairbanks saying that her child, a 13-month-old girl, was not breathing. LaFountain also called her husband's family, who came to her Fort Wainwright home and started doing CPR on the child, police said.
The child was taken to the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, and then flown to Anchorage's Providence Medical Center, police said. The father, who had been deployed, returned on emergency leave, police said.
On Nov. 24, the child was pronounced dead.
The investigation, started by Fort Wainwright Police, was transferred to the Fairbanks Police Department, as LaFountain was not military personnel, police said.
As detectives investigated the child's death, they found similarities between the case and another death investigation involving another of LaFountain's daughters in 2015. LaFountain had been in a previous relationship at the time, police said; the death had not been investigated as a homicide.
On Sept. 15, 2015, emergency dispatchers got a call from LaFountain, whose last name was Bilecki at that time. LaFountain told dispatchers that her 4-month-old child wasn't breathing. The child died in Fairbanks' local hospital about an hour after the initial call, police said.
Police said that forensic analysis revealed that, about an hour before dispatchers got a call about the 13-month-old child, LaFountain had conducted multiple "suspicious searches" online. Those included "ways to suffocate;" "Ways to kill human with no proof;" "16 steps to kill someone and not get caught."
Both children had been "entirely healthy," autopsy results and medical records showed, according to police. The cause of death for the child who died in 2015 was "officially undetermined, but the symptoms were consistent with a suffocation death," police said.
The child who died in November was shown to have died from complications of anoxia, which is a lack of oxygen to the brain.
LaFountain was indicted on Wednesday. She was arrested and taken to the Fairbanks Correctional Center. Her first court appearance is scheduled for Friday, police said.
LaFountain does not have other children; she has family in Washington, police said.
Anyone with information about the case was asked to call detective Avery Thompson at 907-450-6550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairbanks Police Chief Eric Jewkes held a brief press conference on Thursday afternoon, which was posted to Facebook.
Correction: An earlier version of the story said that LaFountain had conducted "suspicious searches" before the death of the child in 2015; this has been updated to reflect that the searches allegedly occurred before the death of the child in 2017.