Tyelyn Kay Sanders, a 23-year-old mom of three, was arrested last Monday when blood tests on her children revealed something unthinkable. The arrest on January 12 stemmed from a tragic incident in Anniston, Alabama, on August 10 when Sanders' 4-month-old son stopped breathing and later died at a nearby hospital.
At the time, neither police nor doctors suspected foul play, or that Sanders was in any way involved in causing her baby boy's death. But earlier this month, toxicology results came back from an autopsy performed on the boy — as autopsies are always performed in such cases of unexplained deaths — and they revealed something absolutely shocking.
The baby had evidence of methamphetamine — the life-destroying drug popularized on the TV series Breaking Bad — in his bloodstream.
The cause of the baby's death was ruled to be pneumonia, however, which appeared to be a big relief to the young mom at the time. Tyelyn Sanders posted a message on her Facebook page on January 6, saying that she was at peace because, she said, her son did not suffer a violent end.
"So I got a peace at [sic] mind today (well somewhat) and that is that my son did not suffocate, nor choke, or suffer," she wrote. "His cause of death was lymphatic phneumonia [sic]... it is hard and peaceful at the same time... no more bad visuals of 'what could have' happened.. thank you jesus!!!!!"
But the worst was yet to come for Sanders. Though the coroner ruled the cause of the baby's death to be "pneumonia with the presence of methamphetamine," and added that the meth could not definitively be established as the cause of the fatal pneumonia, police arrested Sanders six days later on charges of "chemical endangerment."
She told investigators that she breastfed the child, which police say was the source of the methamphetamine in the baby's blood samples.
"The mother of the infant, Tyelyn Kay Sanders, eventually admitted to breastfeeding the infant, which would explain the methamphetamine in the bloodstream," said Anniston police Capt. Allen George.
Investigators also tested the young mom's other two kids, ages 8 and 2 — and their tests also came back positive for methamphetamine. Those results came from hair follicle samples. Hair retains a record of an individual's drug use for a much longer period than blood.
The other two kids have been taken away from Sanders' home by the Alabama Department of Human Resources.
In a Facebook post on January 8, Tyelyn Kay Sanders defended herself, saying that she was "a good person, mother, and I love my kids ALL of them til the death of me," despite making some "bad choices" and succumbing to "a few bad habits."