YAKIMA, Wash. — A 22-year-old Moxee woman arrested after the death of her infant son was expected to be released from Yakima County jail Tuesday evening.
The woman had been jailed Monday on suspicion of manslaughter in the child’s death.
She had been expected to make a preliminary appearance in Yakima County Superior Court on Tuesday, but that didn’t happen. Instead, Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Hagarty said it was too early to determine where the case was headed.
“We just chose to not file charges at this time pending further investigation,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “Until we have that further investigation, no decision (on charges) will be made.”
As of 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the woman was still listed on the jail’s log as being in custody, though Hagarty said she was supposed to be released Tuesday afternoon.
An autopsy Tuesday morning revealed that the baby died of cerebral hypoxia, a lack of oxygen to the brain likely due to his face being obstructed, said Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for babies to die that way, whether sleeping in bed with their parents or sleeping on their stomachs in a crib with loose bedding that blocks their nose and mouth, Hawkins said.
“They get their face covered up, and they can’t really move their head; they breathe and they keep breathing in the same air and don’t get any oxygen,” Hawkins said. “Whether it was mom leaning on it, or baby got its face up against mom and was breathing in the same air … but baby shouldn’t have been in the bed with mom.”
Moxee police said the woman had been drinking Sunday night and her nearly 2-month-old son was sleeping in her bed with her. When she woke up Monday morning around 8:30, the baby was dead.
Police reports allege the woman initially lied to investigators about where the child had been sleeping, but later admitted that he had been in her bed. She also said later that she had been educated in the past about the dangers of sleeping with her child, according to police.
Police said that a breath test administered at the scene that morning showed a blood-alcohol content of 0.099, above the legal limit of 0.08 for driving. The report said there was also evidence that she’d had alcohol in her room.
Police and East Valley firefighters initially went to a home on North Glacier Street about 8:30 a.m. Monday following a report that the child was not breathing. The woman was subsequently booked at the Yakima County jail.