Mom Accused Of Accidentally Killing Child With Drug-Tainted Breast Milk

By Keri Blakinger 09/04/18

Prosecutors argue that the child died because the mother had used methamphetamine and amphetamine.

Mother holding baby.

The homicide case against a Pennsylvania mother accused of accidentally killing her baby with drug-tainted breast milk will move forward, a judge ruled last week during an initial court appearance. 

Samantha Jones was arrested in July after an autopsy found methadone, amphetamine and methamphetamine in the dead 11-week-old’s system. The Bucks County mother was charged with homicide from the start, but on Wednesday, Magisterial District Judge Lisa Gaier upheld the charge after hearing more from defense and prosecutors. 

“They don’t know what happened here,” defense lawyer Louis Busico said, pointing out that investigators never tested his client’s breast milk. “I’m asking the court not to criminalize the death of this little child.”

But prosecutors argued that the drugs “had no business being inside that baby,” according to a news release

“We are not alleging that this was an intentional killing of this baby,” prosecutor Kristin McElroy said. “But it certainly was reckless to know these drugs were in your body and continue to breast feed.”

The New Britain Township woman previously told investigators she was prescribed the methadone and that she’d stopped breastfeeding her boy three days before his death, when she switched to formula.

But the morning of April 2, the baby started crying and Jones decided to breastfeed because it was late and she was tired, she told police

When her husband woke up for work, the baby was crying, so he made a bottle of formula and Jones fed him. Afterward, she fell asleep—and when she woke up an hour later the baby was white, with blood around his nose. 

Jones and her mother tried CPR and called 911, but first responders were unable to save the baby, who died that day in the emergency room. 

In court last week, Jones’ lawyer tried getting the homicide charge dismissed, saying the woman would never have hurt her boy and that the breast milk hadn’t actually tested for drugs.

"She was a wonderful mother to this little boy. I can tell you she was a loving mother to this little boy, and she was doing everything possible to improve herself and provide both her children and herself with a nice life," Busico told ABC News. "She has another child who she loves dearly. She has an amazingly close and wonderful relationship with her own mom. But every day is a little piece of hell on earth, make no mistake about it."

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.