Family Crimes

Mom Charged With Homicide After Baby Dies From Drugs Allegedly Passed Through Breast Milk

Police say an autopsy reveals that Samantha Whitney Jones's 11-week old son died after consuming methadone, amphetamine and methamphetamine through her breast milk. 

A baby is dead and police believe his mother's breast milk is to blame.

Samantha Whitney Jones, 30, has been charged with criminal homicide after an autopsy revealed her 11-week old son died from a combination of methadone, amphetamine and methamphetamine. New Britain Township Police and Bucks County Detectives believe the fatal drugs entered the baby's body through the mother's breast milk.

The Pennsylvania mother, who also has a two-year-old son, told police she been prescribed methadone for an addiction to pain medication and had been taking it during her pregnancy and at the time of her son's death, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Jones was feeding the baby, identified in the affidavit as R.J., primarily through breast milk. She told investigators initially that she had switched to formula the afternoon before the baby's death so she could "re-up her supply," the document said. She later said, according to police, that she had made the switch three days before the baby's death because she hadn't been making enough breast milk to satisfy R.J.

But then, when the baby woke up at 3 a.m. on the morning of April 2, Jones told police that she was too tired to make a bottle of formula and told police she tried to breastfeed him.

"She tried to breastfeed him but wasn't sure if he latched onto her breast and received any milk," the document states. "Samantha stated she dozed on and off for the next several hours."

At around 6 a.m., R.J. woke up crying and Jones asked his father to prepare a bottle of formula for him, which he did, police say.

When Jones woke up about two hours after her father gave R.J. the formula, R.J. was pale and had bloody mucous coming out of his nose. She and her mother, who was also in the house at the time, called 911 and began CPR.

The baby was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:29 a.m., according to a statement from the Bucks County District Attorney's Office.

An autopsy later revealed the drugs in the baby's system. The contents of the bottle and formula can were tested for drugs, but the tests were negative. The physician who conducted the autopsy believes the baby ingested the drugs through the breast milk.

Jones was arraigned on the charges and is tentatively scheduled for a preliminary hearing on July 23. Her bail has been set at $3 million.

Her attorney Louis Busico had argued for minimal bail noting the unintentional nature of the death, the statement said. Jones may face murder charges that carry a mandatory life sentence in the case.

Jones' two-year-old son is currently in the custody of his father, the statement said.

[Photo: Bucks County District Attorney's Office]

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