U.S. woman arrested after her baby dies from drinking breast milk laced with drugs

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Image credit: Bucks County District Attorney's Office
 

A drug-addicted U.S. woman was charged on July 13 with killing her 11-week-old baby with a lethal combination of drugs transmitted through her breast milk.

Samantha Whitney Jones, 30, from New Britain Township in Pennsylvania, was charged with criminal homicide in the April 2 death of her infant son at her home. She was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Jean Seaman of Jamison, who set bail at $3 million cash.

An autopsy found that the baby died from a combination of methadone, amphetamine and methamphetamine, allegedly transmitted through Jones’ breast milk, according to a probable cause affidavit (attached below).

The child’s father told police that he found Jones and the baby in separate bedrooms at about 6 a.m. on April 2. The baby was crying, and Jones asked her husband to prepare a bottle of formula for him, the affidavit said.

Jones told police that after her husband left for work, she fed the baby the formula, placed him in a bassinet at about 6:30, and fell asleep. She awakened an hour later to find the infant pale, with bloody mucous coming from his nose, the affidavit said.

Jones called out to her mother, who was elsewhere in the house, the affidavit said, and the mother began CPR at the instruction of a dispatcher after they called 911.

New Britain Township police arrived at 7:38 a.m. to find the baby in cardiac arrest. The child was taken by ambulance to Doylestown Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:29 a.m. in the emergency room, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, Jones told police that she had been prescribed methadone because of an addiction to painkillers, that she had taken it during her pregnancy, and that she was taking it at the time of the baby’s death.

Jones said she had been primarily breast-feeding the baby, but had switched to formula three days earlier, saying the infant wasn’t getting enough milk from breast feeding, the affidavit said.

Jones said that on the morning the child died, the baby was crying at 3 a.m. and that she tried to breast feed him because she was too tired to go downstairs and prepare a bottle of formula, the affidavit said.

Jones is being represented by defense attorney Louis Busico. He argued for minimal bail, saying that the killing was not intentional, that Jones was not a flight risk and that she is not a danger to anyone.

The case has been assigned for prosecution to Deputy District Attorney Kristin M. McElroy, who asked Seaman to deny bail. Because Jones currently faces a general homicide charge and the investigation is ongoing, it is possible she could face murder charges that carry a mandatory life sentence, McElroy said.

In addition to setting high bail, Seaman ordered Jones to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18. The defendant has a 2-year-old son who is currently in the primary custody of his father, Busico said.

The case is being investigated by the New Britain Township Police Department and the Bucks County Detectives. A preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for July 23 before Magisterial District Judge Regina Armitage of New Britain.