A Philadelphia-area woman was charged on Friday with criminal homicide in the April 2 death of her 11-week-old son, reports The Morning Call. The woman, Samantha Whitney Jones, was reportedly addicted to painkillers but had taken methadone during her pregnancy and admitted she was still using it. While breastfeeding was her primary way of feeding her son, on the afternoon of April 1, she switched him over to powdered formula because she needed to “re-up her supply” of milk. Later she added that she switched over three days prior because she thought he wasn’t getting enough breastmilk and he wasn’t sleeping well.
Autopsy results showed that her son, R.J., died from a lethal combination of drugs that happened to have been transmitted through her breast milk. The combination was methadone, amphetamine, and methamphetamine, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The affidavit also revealed what Jones said happened leading up to finding her son that fateful morning. She had told the police detective that she woke up at 3 a.m. and that R.J. was crying. She was too tired to make his formula so she returned to breastfeeding, though she wasn’t even sure that he had latched on. She slept on and off for the next few hours.
When her husband and R.J.’s dad, Vincent McGovern, got up around 6 a.m., he found them in different rooms and R.J. was crying while Jones was sleeping. She woke up and asked him to make a bottle for the baby. He did so and then left for work. Jones then stated in the affidavit that around 6:30 a.m., she gave her son the bottle and laid him down in his bassinette. When she checked on him an hour later, she noticed that he was white, with bloody mucus coming from his nose, and not breathing. She called out to her mother, Cheryl Jones, who was in the house. CPR was administered by her mother and 911 was called. He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:29 a.m.
Toxicology reports were done on both the formula and the bottle and no drugs were found in either. It was the findings in the autopsy that listed the cause of death as homicide and the investigation is ongoing.
Jones was arraigned on Friday before Magisterial District Judge Jean Seaman of Jamison. Her defense attorney tried to argue for minimal bail, saying R.J.’s death was not intentional and that his client is not a flight risk. According to The Morning Call, bail was set at $3 million but Jones was sent to Bucks County Jail after being unable to post it.