A New Jersey mom who investigators say was high on drugs in her car while her 2-year-old daughter died in her car seat now faces additional charges after police allegedly found heroin, crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and a gun inside her vehicle.
Deanna Joseph, 39, was initially charged with second-degree child endangerment in connection to the death of her daughter. Officials announced Thursday that she is now charged with being in possession of a gun without a permit, possession of heroin, crack cocaine, and drug paraphernalia.
The father of Joseph’s daughter called 911 Saturday night to report that the child was unresponsive. When police arrived, they found the girl dead in a car parked in the driveway of Joseph’s home in Alloway Township, New Jersey while the engine was running. Investigators say it appeared the child fatally injured herself and there were lacerations on the girl’s neck. They have not yet determined an exact cause of death however.
Investigators say Joseph was high on drugs inside her car and had left her daughter unattended in her car seat for hours. They also revealed Thursday that they found heroin, wax folds, baggies and metal spoons in Joseph’s car as well as crack cocaine and a hypodermic needle in her purse. They also said they found a handgun with a defaced serial number in the trunk of her car.
Court records show Joseph had a history of neglect prior to Saturday’s arrest. She was arrested in 2008 after her 11-year-old and 2-year-old were found alone at home, according to a Burlington County Times report. The two children were discovered after police found Joseph on drugs in a parking lot.
The newspaper reported the children were temporarily taken into state custody. Joseph was convicted of cruelty and child neglect and sentenced to five years of probation.
Records also show the woman was arrested again after being found unresponsive at an apartment in 2014. Her infant son was found bathing in inches of water nearby.
Joseph was again convicted of cruelty and neglect of a child and sentenced to a year in jail. It is unclear if she was being monitored by the child protection division of the state Department of Child and Families.