Mom Charged with Homicide, Accused of Causing Infant's OD Through Breast Milk

Mom Charged with Homicide, Accused of Causing Infant's OD Through Breast Milk

By Keri Blakinger 07/17/18

An autopsy found methadone, amphetamine and methamphetamine in the 11-week-old’s system.

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A Pennsylvania woman was charged with homicide after her infant son allegedly died of a drug overdose from drinking drugs through his mother’s breast milk.

Samantha Jones was charged Friday and held on $3 million cash bail for the tot’s April death after an autopsy found methadone, amphetamine and methamphetamine in the 11-week-old’s system, according to Bucks Local News.

At the time, the 30-year-old New Britain Township woman was prescribed methadone to help kick a painkiller addiction. She’d been breastfeeding the boy until three days before his death, when she switched to formula, she allegedly told investigators.

But around 3 a.m. the morning of April 2, the baby started crying and Jones decided to breastfeed, according to court records. It was late and she was tired, and she didn’t want to go downstairs for a bottle, she allegedly told investigators.

She wasn’t sure whether the child actually fed at all before she fell back asleep, she said. But when her husband woke up for work three hours later the child was crying, and his mother was in the other room. So he made the boy a bottle of formula, then Jones fed him, putting the child back to bed before falling asleep again herself.

When she woke up an hour later, the child was white, with bloody mucous dripping from his nose.

Jones shouted for her mother, who called 911 and tried saving the child with CPR. First responders rushed the baby to the hospital where he was pronounced dead an hour later in the emergency room.

The jailed mother also has a 2-year-old son, who is with his father, according to Jezebel. Jones is due back in court on July 23, though her lawyer argued for lower bail in the meantime, saying the death was accidental and she’s not a flight risk. Prosecutors asked for no bail at all, citing the possibility of a mandatory life sentence if the charge is upgraded from homicide to murder.

Although prosecutions for drug-laced breast milk appear to be rare, they’re not unprecedented. In 2014, a South Carolina mom was sentenced to 20 years behind bars after her baby girl died of a morphine overdose from breastfeeding.

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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.

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