Mother Allegedly Smothered Baby To Death While Stoned, Baby Also Had Marijuana In Its System From Breastfeeding

The mother allegedly drank alcohol and smoked marijuana before falling asleep with the baby on a couch. The baby died from being smothered. 

By Gina Tron

A Pennsylvania woman has been arrested for the smothering death of her baby last year.

Arissa K. Ward, 23, of Middletown, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child. According to a report by WHTN, Ward’s 2-month-old son was found dead in December.

Ward allegedly told investigators she drank alcohol and smoked marijuana before falling asleep with the baby on a couch, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday.

“When you choose to sleep with your child, there is a danger that a tragedy could happen,” Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said.

An autopsy confirmed the death was “caused by complications of traumatic asphyxia combined with smothering,” according to the report.

Marsico said the baby had 0.65 nanograms of marijuana in his system.

“Because she was breastfeeding her child, the child had marijuana in his system,” Marsico said. “Despite whatever debate there is about marijuana legalization, I think we can all agree that for a two-month-old infant to be ingesting it is not a good thing.”

Ward was released on a $50,000 unsecured bail and a hearing is scheduled for June.

According to a report from WPMT, there has been a spike of baby deaths in the area. There have been enough recent deaths to warrant the creation of a multi-agency, countywide task force that aims to study child deaths as a result of bed-sharing.

[Photo courtesy of Dauphin County Jail]


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