FARMINGTON -- Jacquelin Bowman hugged Sandra Flores in the courtroom after a jury found Flores not guilty of child abuse.
The eight-member jury came to the verdict after two hours of deliberating on Friday following a 2/12 day trial.
Flores had been charged with second-degree felony child abuse. Investigators said she had caused massive head injuries to Bowman's daughter, who was 3, on July 5, 2011.
"Thank you so much," Flores, 25, of Layton, said to jurors after Judge John Morris had excused them.
"I am so happy," Bowman said in the hallway where friends and family had gathered in support of the two women.
"I had faith the whole time," Flores said. "Yes, I was nervous, but I knew it would work out."
During the three days of the trial and jury deliberations, Bowman and her family always gave Flores hugs in the courtroom hallway during breaks.
Flores' attorney, Richard Uday, said in his closing arguments that no one knew what exactly happened to the little girl Flores had been watching in the apartment she shared with Bowman.
He said even though the child had a massive head injury, "Did Ms. Flores do this? Even with the group of people whose task it was to find something, they could not establish Ms. Flores did this."
Bowman had gone to work that morning, leaving her daughter with Flores. The two women would schedule their work shifts so they could take turns watching each other's child.
Flores said she found the little girl on the floor in front of a toilet. She had put the toddler on the toilet and left her there for about 20 minutes to 30 minutes, checking on her periodically while she checked on her own son and did the laundry.
She said she went into the bathroom to check on the girl and found her face down in front of the toilet. Flores told investigators she picked up the child, then the child had said "Look," pointed to the ceiling where a maintenance worker had been repairing the air conditioner and then the girl went limp.
Flores sought help from a neighbor. The neighbor drove Flores and the girl to Davis Hospital and Medical Center, which was about two minutes away from their apartment complex.
The little girl was flown to Primary Children's Medical Center. Surgeons had to remove part of the girl's skull to relieve the pressure on her brain. Medical officials said the girl had severe bleeding on the right side of her brain.
Bowman said her daughter has been doing well after the month-long hospital stay.
Prosecutors had maintained there were inconsistencies in Flores' statements and actions at the time of the girl's injury.
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE.