For 2nd Time, Pennsylvania Mom Has Baby Sleeping in Bed Die: DA

For the second time, a Lancaster County mother faces charges in the death of her 2-month-old child in her bed, this time accused of homicide after ignoring doctor's warnings about sharing her bed with her children.

The baby died in July at Jessica Harper's home along Robert Fulton Highway in Peach Bottom, said authorities.

"Jessica Harper, biological mother to the infant … stated that she placed (the infant) in her bed to sleep," said an affidavit of probable cause obtained by NBC affiliate WGAL. "She as well as her 3-year-old daughter slept in that bed with (the infant) in between both of them. When Harper awoke (the baby) was not breathing."

The death was later ruled a homicide caused by the baby suffocating while he slept, said the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

An investigation revealed that Harper ignored the advice of multiple medical professionals who warned the 28-year-old mother not to have the baby sleep in bed with her. Just six days before the boy died, a pediatrician warned Harper of the consequences of sharing a bed with her infant son but Harper responded that she was "going to do it anyway," according to the affidavit.

"Harper demonstrated an 'extreme indifference to the value of human life' by ignoring the repeated warnings of several doctors," the affidavit stated.

Charged with criminal homicide, Harper was jailed without bail after her Thursday arrest, said court records.

Court records listed no attorney.

She has a long history of criminal issues in the state of Maryland. One of Harper’s other children – also a 2-month-old – died in Cecil County, Maryland, in 2011 of suffocation, said investigators. She pleaded guilty to lesser charges in that case.

Lancaster County children and youth was working on the care of Harper's five living children, reported WGAL.

Contact Us