Newborn Death Caused by Breast Milk, Mother Charged, Bucks County DA Alleges
The baby's mother allegedly told detectives that she was taking prescribed methadone for a pain killer addiction, the DA's office said.
The mother of an 11-week-old who died April 2 in Bucks County has been charged with criminal homicide after the district attorney alleged that the newborn died from drugs transmitted through breast milk.
Samantha Whitney Jones, 30, of New Britain Township, is being held on $3 million bail after an initial arraignment Friday.
"An autopsy found that the baby died from a combination of methadone, amphetamine and methamphetamine, allegedly transmitted through Jones' breast milk," the DA's office said in a press release.
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The day of the baby's death, R.J., as the newborn is identified in the criminal complaint, was crying about 3 a.m. and Jones woke up, according to the complaint. Too tired to go downstairs and prepare a bottle of formula, Jones allegedly tried breastfeeding R.J.
She told detectives she's not sure if R.J. breastfed as Jones dozed on and off for the next three hours.
About 6 a.m., R.J.'s father and Jones' husband, Vincent McGovern, said he found his wife and son in a separate bedroom, according to the complaint.
He went downstairs, prepared a bottle of formula, then left for work. Jones said she fed the formula to R.J., then put him in his bassinet about 6:30 a.m.
Jones woke up about 7:30 a.m. to find R.J. "pale with bloody mucous coming out of his nose," according to the complaint. Despite CPR attempts, the newborn died at a nearby hospital.
The doctor who performed the autopsy ruled the cause of death a homicide because of the combination of drugs found in the baby's blood. The doctor "advised R.J. ingested the combination of fatal drugs through breast milk," according to the complaint.
Jones allegedly told detectives that she actually began feeding R.J. with formula three days before his death because he wasn't getting enough milk from breast feeding, which caused sleeplessness, the complaint said.
She also allegedly said she had been prescribed methadone for an addiction to pain killers. She allegedly said she was taking the prescription while she was pregnant and at the time of R.J.'s death, the complaint said.
Jones' defense attorney, Lou Busico, argued at the arraignment Friday that R.J.'s death was not intentional, the DA's office said.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 23.