A Michigan mother of three has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and second-degree child abuse following the co-sleeping death of her 6-month-old son.
Leslie Neuman, 32, turned herself in Monday in connection to the death of her son, Connor Kleemann, according to Detroit’s FOX 2. The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office alleges she had been drinking the night of her son’s death and had been previously warned about the dangers of co-sleeping.
Police responded to a 911 call from Neuman’s home in Livonia around 6 am on December 29, 2016 and found the infant unresponsive. He was then taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to defense attorney Maggie Cotant, Neuman and her sister were drinking and eating leftovers from Christmas dinner the previous evening. Over the course of eight hours, it is alleged they each consumed about four beers and a shot of hard liquor. “[The drinking] occurred over this long period of time,” Cotant told People magazine. “They make it sound like she was this alcoholic, drunk person who went to bed wasted with her baby. But in reality, they have no idea.”
Cotant did, however, confirm that during her pregnancy, Neuman had sought help from a drug and alcohol treatment center. Additionally, an anonymous medical worker filed a complaint with Child Protective Services shortly after Connor’s birth saying Neuman appeared to be going through drug withdrawal symptoms.
Cotant says Neuman had been warned about the perceived dangers of co-sleeping, and according to FOX2, even signed a document saying she would no longer do it. However, on the night in question she still brought Connor into bed with her. According to Cotant, this was because the boy had a cold, and she was afraid she wouldn’t hear his cries at night.
In the morning, she woke up and found him with his face turned to the wall and unresponsive.
“She tried to revive him. She tried to give him mouth-to-mouth,” says Contant. “When it wasn’t working, she started screaming and screaming.”
Livonia Police Capt. Robert Nenciarini said, “We believe that the infant got wedged between the bed and the wall and suffocated.”
After posting $100,000 bond, Neuman was released from custody and will next appear in court on September 28. She has two older children, ages 8 and 10, who are both now in the custody of their father.
While the pros and cons of co-sleeping are hotly debated, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office warned in 2013 that parents who put their children at risk by co-sleeping would face criminal charges, according to the Detroit News.
[Photo: Livonia Police Department]