Marshall mother who left toddler near river charged with murder

SALINE COUNTY, Mo. - A mother accused of leaving her 18-month-old daughter to die near the bank of a river has been charged with murder. 

Lydia Iliff, 32, was charged with tampering with a motor vehicle, endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree murder on Tuesday in Saline County, Mo.

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Rescue workers started searching for both Iliff and her 18-month-old daughter, identified as A.I. in court documents, after their car was found in a field on the west side of Highway K on July 5. According to the Saline County Sheriff's Department, Iliff abandoned the car, dumped a stroller and car seat in a ditch and stole a truck from a nearby shop.

On July 7, a resident called authorities and said Iliff had come to their house, seemed extremely disoriented and said she remembered leaving her young daughter on a river bank.

The toddler was found dead on the bank of Blackwater River on July 8.

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An autopsy determined the girl died of extreme dehydration and heat exposure.

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