4-month-old baby dead after ingesting cocaine found in feeding bottles, parents arrested

cocaine
Source: Newberry County Sheriff's Office

Jun. 24 2021, Published 3:43 p.m. ET

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A 4-month-old baby died from a drug overdose and police say they found cocaine in the infant's feeding bottles.

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Brady Lynden Wearn, 18, and Mary Catherine Bedenbaugh, 17, were charged by the Newberry County Sheriff's Office in South Carolina with homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child.

On May 2, EMS responded to a call about a four-month-old not breathing and unresponsive.

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The infant was transported to Newberry Hospital and was pronounced dead, according to the sheriff's office.

During the investigation, toxicology reports showed the infant had measurable levels of cocaine in the body, investigators noted.

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Further toxicology tests found trace amounts of cocaine in feeding bottles, according to the sheriff's office.

As a result of the investigation, Wearn and Bedenbaugh submitted to a drug screen, which tested positive for cocaine, fentanyl and marijuana, according to the sheriff's office.

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Newberry County Coroner Laura Kneece has ruled the manner of the infant’s death as a homicide.

Forensic Pathologist Dr. Kelly Rose with Newberry Pathology Group concluded that the infant died due to “sudden unexpected infant death associated with recent cocaine ingestion.”

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“These are very difficult and time-consuming cases that Investigators have to sort through, and we have to wait for testing on items, which takes a few weeks,” Sheriff Lee Foster said in announcig the arrest.“This is exactly why we take drug enforcement so seriously.  Drug use and abuse are not victimless crimes.”

“These cases are very difficult and emotional from the start with an infant being involved. It takes multiple agency cooperation from the beginning. I am very proud of the dedication of ALL agencies involved and how effortless it is was [sic] for everyone to work together," Kneece said.

Both parents are being held at the Newberry County Detention Center pending a bond hearing.

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