Pennsylvania mother who transmitted fatal dose of drugs to her baby through her breast milk spared jail time
A Pennsylvania mother who was arrested last year and charged for allegedly killing her 11-week-old baby by transmitting him a lethal mix of drugs through her breast milk has escaped jail time.
According to Leigh Valley Live, under the terms of a plea agreement, a judge sentenced 31-year-old Samantha Whitey Jones, who had been charged with criminal homicide over the incident, to three years' probation and 100 hours of community service.
Jones was first arrested in July last year over the death of her infant son, R.J., in April. New Britain Township Police had responded to her home in the early hours of April 2 over a 911 call she had made and found the infant in cardiac arrest.
Jones said she had tried CPR on him before calling the authorities for help, though both hers and the medical professionals' efforts to revive the 11-week-old would prove unsuccessful. RJ was rushed to Doylestown Hospital but was pronounced dead about an hour later.
The Bucks County District's Office later revealed that the autopsy found that the child had a mixture of amphetamine, methamphetamine, and methadone in his system, which ultimately proved fatal. Jones was subsequently charged with criminal homicide.
During the investigations, Jones told officers that her addiction to painkillers had seen doctors prescribe methadone to her. Methadone, while safe in low concentrations, can result in an infant experiencing sedation, respiratory depression, and the effects of withdrawal at the higher doses which R.J. consumed, and the 31-year-old admitted to starting the drug during her pregnancy and continuing its consumption until the day of her son's death.
She claimed she had switched from breast milk to formula three days before his death because the infant was not getting enough milk from breastfeeding. However, she also confessed to waking up at around 3 am that fateful day to the cries of her son and breastfeeding him because she was too tired to go downstairs and prepare formula.
Her husband told the police that when RJ woke up crying again around 6 am, she asked him to prepare a bottle of formula. He said she fed the 11-week old after he went to work and went to sleep, only to wake up an hour-and-a-half later and find his body pale and bloody mucus secreting from his nose.
After the infant's death, Jones' other two-year-old son was placed into the custody of his father.
According to the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, Jones' case is thought to be the first time a nursing mother has faced homicide charges after breastfeeding. Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub insisted it was not about trying to "blaze a trail," adding that they "need to make sure that all of our citizens, especially our youngest and most vulnerable, the little babies, are protected.