LOGAN -- Alice Soto's 22-month-old son crawled down the stairs to get his morning hug from his mom. Soto gathered the boy in her arms, gave him a hug and then handed the toddler to his father, who came down after him.
The 28-year-old Logan woman said she has been given a second chance to be a mom and she's not going to mess up this time.
Her addiction to methamphetamine caused her to lose her parental rights to her three older children, two girls and a boy, in September 2010.
She hoped that if she stayed clean and did everything right, at some point she may get to visit with those three children again. All three had been adopted.
But now, Soto's hopes of meeting with her son, who was 18 months old when he was placed in foster care, are dashed.
Soto said she is the birth mother of Benjamin Vidinhar, one of two brothers who were found dead with multiple stab wounds in their West Point home on May 22.
Officials say both boys were adopted by the Vidinhars.
Aza Vidinhar, 15, has been charged in 2nd District Juvenile Court with two counts of aggravated murder in connection with Benjamin's death and the death of Alex Vidinhar, 10.
Soto said she learned of the death from a Standard-Examiner online article.
When the boys were identified, she recognized the photo of the 4-year-old because she had received a similar photograph from a social worker with the state Division of Child and Family Services in 2012.
When she had asked for the photo in the summer of 2012, Soto said she was still in drug court, but had been drug-free and was holding down a job.
"They looked happy and well," Soto said as she looked at the photos she keeps in an album.
"It was nice to see they were doing so well," Soto said.
She had been following the Vidinhar case since it broke on May 22. It was a few days later when the young boys were identified. When she saw the photograph of Benjamin, "At first, I kept saying, 'It can't be. It just can't be.' Then I just broke down, screaming and crying."
One month before the Vidinhar boys were killed, Soto had graduated from drug court. She was also pregnant. Besides her 20-month-old son, she has a 2-month-old daughter.
Soto said an aunt made her a tile with her son's name on it and the family held a memorial service so she could have closure.
Her children's birth names were changed by their adoptive family, she said.
"They are their kids," Soto said. "They are her children."
According to copies of court documents Soto provided to the Standard-Examiner, her oldest son's date of birth was Sept. 12, 2008. The Davis County Attorney's Office confirmed that Benjamin Vidinhar's date of birth was also Sept. 12, 2008.
"It hurt me a lot," Soto said about the death of Benjamin.
The week following the murders, Soto said she tried to get confirmation from the DCFS, but no one would tell her.
Elizabeth Sollis, spokeswoman with the state Department of Human Services, said DCFS "respects the adoptive family's privacy and rights. If the adoptive family wants to notify the birth family and if we feel the child's safety is not at risk, then we will notify the birth family."
Soto said she also contacted the Davis County sheriff's office to get confirmation. She knows she has no legal right to know anything about the three children who were adopted.
"I can understand why they don't want to contact me," Soto said. "They're afraid I'm going to seek revenge."
Soto said that is not the case.
"We won't," Soto said.
But she feels there should be some provision, somewhere, for birth parents.
"We should at least be notified if our child dies," Soto said. "We were all traumatized."
Soto said she almost relapsed, but chose instead to seek counseling.
And she plans on not doing anything that could cause the state to take away her two children.
In 2010, Soto was arrested for possession of methamphetamine in Weber County. She was charged with a misdemeanor, but her children were placed in the home of a family friend. At the time, she had a 4-year-old girl, an 18-month old boy, who she said was Benjamin, and a newborn baby girl.
Soto said her meth addiction had a hold on her and she "didn't want to stop."
She failed to show up for a court appearance that would determine where her three children would be placed. According to the documents, she also did not show up for some of her visits with her children and had tested positive for drug use more than once.
In less than 12 months from the time she was arrested, the court had terminated her parental rights and the three children were adopted.
"I gave up. I just didn't care anymore," Soto said.
Instead of trying to stay clean, Soto continued to use drugs until she was arrested again on July 14, 2011, in Weber County, and charged with third-degree felony possession of methamphetamine. At the time of her arrest, she also learned she was pregnant.
That pregnancy was a turning point for Soto.
"I was done," Soto said. "I wanted to do what I could to raise this baby and I would give up everything not to go back to drugs."
After serving six months in jail, Soto moved to Logan to be closer to family and enrolled in the Cache County drug court program.
She knows the family who adopted her children love them and she continues to move forward.
"I'm at peace," she said. "I know (my son) is OK."
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE.