Harrisburg baby died after mother smoked pot, took a pill and rolled over him
Dauphin County prosecutors have charged a Harrisburg woman with manslaughter after she said she smoked marijuana, skipped a Xanax, then rolled over in bed on top of her one-month-old baby, killing him.
Police arrested Aneek T. Rogers, 30, on Wednesday in connection with the death of her son on August 31, 2020 at the Quality Inn, 525 S. Front Street in Harrisburg.
Officers were called to the hotel at 9.45am, where Rogers was staying with her baby and 3-year-old daughter. She was the sole guardian, according to court records.
The archives gave this account:
Rogers gave his children a bath and they fell asleep around 11 p.m. Her daughter slept in the bed closest to the door and Rogers and the baby slept in the other bed. Rogers told police she surrounded her baby with pillows so she couldn’t roll over on him overnight.
But the next morning, Rogers said she found her son at the foot of his bed, not breathing and bleeding from his nose. She called 911 and provided breaths for the baby.
The coroner ruled that the death was due to complications of asphyxiation and said the baby died about six to eight hours before the 911 call was made. That would put the death between 1:45 and 3:45 a.m.
Police discovered text messages on Rogers’ phone that showed she asked someone at 9:30 p.m. on August 30 for a “tree” and later called for an “8”.
Rogers told police she smoked marijuana with the woman she texted outside the hotel while her children slept in their room. She said the woman gave her an “Ambien” pill from an orange pill bottle to help her sleep, but she did not read the label.
Rogers said she was “really tired” and “really fell asleep after taking” the pill.
A toxicology test of Rogers’ blood showed the presence of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and Alprazolam, or Xanax, according to court records. There was no evidence of Ambien.
Police attempted to reach Rogers in September to ask if she had a prescription for Xanax, but were unable to reach them.
In February, police checked the attorney general’s office for evidence of any prescription from Rogers during the period of her son’s death and found none.
The case was then presented to prosecutors, who approved the charges of manslaughter and endangering the welfare of the children. Rogers remained in jail Thursday in lieu of a guaranteed bond of $ 75,000.
The coroner has ruled the baby’s mode of death “indeterminate”, but prosecutors say they intend to prove the baby died as a direct result of Rogers’ suffocation with the weight of his body. “Reckless or seriously negligent”.
The five mode of death choices for coroners are: homicide, suicide, accidental, natural or undetermined.
About 3,500 babies die each year in the United States from sleep-related deaths, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), accidental suffocation, and deaths from unknown causes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sleep-related deaths fell sharply in the 1990s, as a result of the national “Back to Sleep” safe sleep campaign, the CDC reported. However, the declines have slowed since the late 1990s – and data from a recent CDC report shows the risk to babies persists.
“Unfortunately, too many babies in this country are being lost to preventable sleep-related deaths,” CDC director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD said, according to an article on the agency’s website. “We need to do more to make sure every family knows the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations – babies should sleep on their backs, without toys or soft bedding, and in their own cribs. Parents are encouraged to share a room with the baby, but not the same bed. These strategies will help reduce risk and protect our babies from harm. “