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Mother charged with killing baby by feeding him drug-laced breast milk

By David Ferguson
Monday, September 2, 2013 11:25 EDT
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Ryder Salmen via screencap
 
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An eight-month-old boy in Sacramento, California died after drinking his mother’s breast milk, which contained Xanax, methadone and the opiate painkiller Opana. According to the Sacramento Bee, the baby’s mother, 32-year-old Sarah Anne Stephens appeared in court on Friday on charges of murder and two felony counts of child endangerment.

Stephens was reportedly warned five months before the baby died to stop breast-feeding if she was going to continue to abuse prescription drugs. The baby’s grandfather alleged that Stephens used her drugged breast milk to keep the baby in a stupor, which made him quiet and easy to manage.

“She deliberately, in my opinion, fed that baby drugs so she wouldn’t have to — That was her babysitter,” said Alan Salmen.

“We reached out,” he said. “We knew what was going on, ‘Please give him to us. If you don’t have the time or don’t want to do it, please, we’re here.’”

Ryder’s first overdose nearly killed him at 2 months old. High levels of methadone were found in his system. Nonetheless, he was released back to Stephens’ custody, then died in September of 2012. A coroner’s report released two weeks after his death showed that the baby died of an overdose of prescription drugs.

In the wake of the baby’s death, Stephens told police that Ryder’s father must have given the baby drugs. After nearly a year of investigation by a detective identified by the Bee only as “Detective Rothwell,” it was concluded that Stephens had administered the drugs herself via breast milk.

Ryder was reportedly born addicted to drugs and we fretful and upset from withdrawals whenever he was away from his mother.

“Whatever Ryder was, we loved him. He could cry in our arms 24 hours,” said the grandfather to KTXL.

Watch video about this story, embedded below via KTXL Fox 40:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
 
 
 
 
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