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Draper • It's been five months since Dea Millerberg was sent to prison for helping hide the body of her teenage baby sitter, Alexis Rasmussen, after the girl died from a drug overdose at Millerberg's North Ogden home.
It's unlikely she'll be released anytime soon, a Utah Board of Pardons and Parole officer told her Tuesday, saying that she may have to serve five years the maximum sentence for her crimes.
During an original hearing on Tuesday, Millerberg offered an apology for her involvement in the girl's 2011 death, saying she was "so sorry" and that she is at a loss of how to make up for her wrongdoings.
But Alexis' mother, Dawn Miera, told a hearing officer Tuesday that she doesn't know if Millerberg's apology is enough.
"I don't know if she really feels sorry," Miera said. "I don't know if it is just about her. I don't know if I can believe anything that she says."
Miera said she still struggles with certain things surrounding her 16-year-old daughter's death, such as how after Millerberg's husband, Eric Millerberg, injected Alexis with a fatal mixture of heroin and methamphetamine, the couple left the girl alone though she complained of not feeling well and was cold and shaking.
"She leaves my kid alone to die," Miera said, as Dea Millerberg sobbed. "And on top of that, she dumps her off in the mountains. How do I deal with that?"
In August, Dea Millerberg, 41, was sentenced to serve up to five years in prison for her crimes, after she pleaded guilty to third-degree felony counts of obtaining a prescription illegally, obstructing justice and abuse or desecration of a human body.
Dea Millerberg cooperated with police and testified against her husband at his trial. But 2nd District Judge Brent West told the woman at sentencing that, if not for her cooperation, she could have been charged with more serious crimes.
When asked by parole hearing officer Curtis Garner why she cooperated with police, Dea Millerberg said she "didn't feel OK about it," but also acknowledged that by the time she talked with investigators, police had already found Alexis' body in a remote area of Morgan County and was closing in on their suspects.
"I didn't want to make something so horrible that much worse," Millerberg said. "I just wanted to give her family some answers."
But on Tuesday, Miera questioned Dea Millerberg's intentions. She said that during the 38 days that Alexis was missing, she searched and searched for her daughter. Dea Millerberg saw her efforts, Miera said, and said nothing to her.
"I believe people make mistakes," Miera said. "But I can't believe she said that to [help] my family."
Garner told Dea Millerberg that the five-member board will decide in a few weeks when her parole date will be. He said the standard recommendation for her crimes is about 11 months, but told her that her case is not typical.
"I think you need to prepare yourself for the possibility of being here all five years," Garner said, as Dea Millerberg nodded in agreement.
Dea Millerberg told Garner Tuesday that she felt she deserves to be in prison, and said she's willing to serve however long the board deems necessary.
"I'll accept that and do it every day willingly," she said. "... I struggle daily with what I did. The longer I've been off drugs, the harder this is to deal with."
During Eric Millerberg's three-day trial last February, Dea Millerberg testified that on Sept. 10, 2011, she picked up Alexis to baby-sit their kids, but instead she got high with the teen and her husband.
Through the night, Eric Millerberg injected Alexis with drugs three times, Dea Millerberg testified, once in the teen's neck. The three also attempted to have sex together, the woman testified, but they were too high.
Shortly after her husband injected Alexis for the third time, Dea Millerberg testified that the teen began to complain of being cold and shaky. The teen took a bath and, afterward, the Millerbergs helped her into the couple's bed. The adults then went outside to smoke.
When they returned, they found Alexis was not breathing. Dea Millerberg, who was at the time a licensed nurse, said she attempted CPR, but the girl never responded.
In a panic, the Millerbergs weighed their options. Ultimately, they decided to dump the teen in a remote part of Morgan County near the Taggart exit of Interstate 84.
Eric Millerberg, 39, was convicted by a jury of child abuse homicide, obstructing justice, desecrating a human body and having unlawful sexual activity with a minor. He was sentenced to spend up to life in prison, and his original hearing with the Board of Pardons is scheduled for October 2046.