Grand jury indicts Oregon mom on murder, battery charges

OREGON – A grand jury has indicted an Oregon woman accused of suffocating her 7-year-old son on first-degree murder and aggravated battery to a child charges, Ogle County State’s Attorney Mike Rock said in a news release this afternoon.

Sarah Lyn (Burton) Safranek, 34, faces 20 to 60 years if convicted of murder and 6 to 30 years for battery in the death of Nathaniel Burton, who was found unresponsive and not breathing in his bed in the 400 block of South 10th Street around 2:30 a.m. Feb. 17. He was pronounced dead at KSB Hospital in Dixon later that day.

Nathaniel also suffered a ruptured liver, investigators said in information made public during Safranek’s first appearance in Ogle County Court.

Safranek was arrested April 21 and charged with five counts of first-degree murder and aggravated battery of a child.

She is in Ogle County Jail on $2 million bond and has a hearing Wednesday morning.

When a person is charged via information, the state presents its probable cause evidence in open court with the defendant present. When a person is indicted, that evidence is presented by the state to a grand jury behind closed doors. The grand jury does not determine guilt, it votes on whether jurors believe enough evidence exists to charge the person with a crime.

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.