Charge: Centralia infant exposed to meth smoke, cause of death unknown

Thursday, June 29, 2017 at 6:13 pm
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Sabrina L. Sumter is brought before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court for a bail hearing.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 25-year-old Centralia woman was arrested after police learned a test that came back from her 3-month-old baby who died last month showed positive for the presence of methamphetamine.

It’s not yet clear what caused the child’s death as prosecutors have not gotten the final autopsy report yet.

But Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer charged the mom today with endangerment with a controlled substance.

Sabrina L. Sumter was booked into the Lewis County Jail last night and brought before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis.

Meyer said there were no outward signs of trauma but the results of a blood test showed meth in the baby’s system. He said Sumter admitted to smoking meth in her home the day before her child’s death.

He said he learned today the test results on Sumter’s other child came back negative for drugs. That child was placed into the custody of Child Protective Services, he said.

Meyer asked the judge to hold the defendant on $50,000 bail, but temporary defense attorney Rachael Tiller asked for the amount to be set at $5,000, noting Sumter has lived at the same address for almost a year, there are no children in the home and she has zero criminal history.

Judge Andrew Toybnee ordered her held on $25,000 bail.

The alleged offense holds a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine. The allegation is the defendant knowingly allowed the infant to be exposed to, to inhale, to ingest or have contact with methamphetamine.

Meyer said he is not alleging the mother or any exposure caused the child’s death, at this time.

He has not gotten the final autopsy report yet from the pathologist, he said, since the test results just came back yesterday.

Sumter’s address in court documents is listed as an apartment on the 1400 block of Johnson Road in Centralia.

According to charging documents, police were called on May 6 when Sumter awoke and found the child unresponsive. A roommate called 911.

Attempts to revive the baby were unsuccessful and the baby was pronounced dead a short time later at Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the documents.

As part of the normal autopsy procedure, a sample of the child’s blood was submitted for testing, Meyer wrote in the affidavit regarding probable cause.

Centralia police detective Patty Finch received a copy of the toxicology report yesterday and Sumter was interviewed, according to the documents.

Sumter “did admit to smoking methamphetamine regularly,” Meyer wrote.

She allegedly also admitted to having other people in the house smoking meth and not removing the children from the situation, according to Meyer. She also allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana in her home with her children present, Meyer stated in the documents.

Meyer said part of the reason he asked for high bail was Sumter had wanted to talk to police or CPS about her other child going to live with its father in Mexico. The father was in federal custody at the time of the death and has been deported, according to Meyer.

Toybnee appointed Chehalis attorney Chris Baum to represent the mother. Her arraignment is scheduled for next Thursday.

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7 Responses to “Charge: Centralia infant exposed to meth smoke, cause of death unknown”

  1. Counting Chromosomes says:

    When the fuck did pot become illegal again and when was it ever “bad”?
    Dont feel bad for the childrens administration or this failure, they are still the number one agency in the world in human trafficking with a whopping %80 percent of all children in the US who are adopted. Remember, it’s not about saving lives or protecting children, it’s about selling them to the highest bidder. As far as the mother goes, at least she chose meth and not a position as a social worker in the Childrens administration.

  2. MothersAgainstMeth says:

    Oh no we have a dead baby. children’s administration finally has a reason to exist, and to stop harassing and kidnapping normal everyday families. Better take away the other child and mention marijuana on the same line as methampthetmine like they are equally as bad and illegal. Get a grip children’s administration failed. Too busy going after small business owners and large families for profits to protect kids from their tweaked parents literally a small stones throw from the cps office. What a scam! Don’t worry she will get off the charges her b/f is a minority.

  3. Sasha Brewer says:

    This is exactly what addiction does. It destroys and kills. I am now 2 years into recovery and look back at all the destruction in my life and would do anything to rewind.
    Addiction is your best friend in the beginning and before you know it, you are in the darkest pit of despair. It robs of all that we are and who we are meant to be.

    I pray that through this Sabrina find freedom from addiction and seek healing. A child is gone forever, once Sabrina is sober, this reality will be an overwhelming pain to carry the rest of her life.
    I pray God reveal His love to her so that she can find forgiveness.

  4. Good Grief? says:

    REGARDLESS of the facts about SIDS this woman was using drugs, this woman was posting on her Facebook wanting to sue the EMT’s that didn’t revive her infant. Are you kidding me? She should be charged with the child’s death.

    She’s been punished enough? No, she definitely hasn’t. The complete lack of accountability you are suggesting is insane.

    No one ever made a decision to become a drug addict? Are you serious? I know drug addicts, they do make those choices. You make a decision to not become one. You make a decision to get help and get into treatment. That’s the biggest problem with drug addicts enablers like you that make excuses for them and give them a big it’s not your fault speech.

    As a mother this is the most disgusting thing to read. What a selfish undeserving person. She should never have been able to have custody of those children. It is absolutely absurd to hear anyone defending her. She deserves nothing but the maximum penalty possible for a mother who has negligently killed her baby.

  5. Donna Pegg says:

    I want to know why murder of children carried lesser sentences than adults. Why isn’t murder of a child the same as murder of an adult? Children are people, period!

  6. Ridiculous says:

    The mother was selfish and chose drugs over her children. She didn’t even have the decency to remove her children from the dangerous environment. Addicts are not fit parents and a baby inhaling meth would very likely kill it. The mother deserves to be tried for manslaughter at least. She is not the victim the dead baby girl is.

  7. Good Grief! says:

    Well, before we all jump to conclusions, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome deaths peak in ages 2 months to 4 months of age. If you look at the studies, that age range is a HUGE spike. All we know about SIDS is that there is something in the brain, like a defect, that is triggered by an outside source. The deaths are most common in the winter months (up here Jan, Feb, March in the southern hemisphere, the winter months are Jun, July, Aug). We also know that cigarette smokers have higher rates of SIDS…but don’t know if that is because mama smokes or because there are smoke particles on the clothes and bedding.

    That said, smoking meth around kids is bad – very bad, but it actually may not have had one thing to do with the death of this baby.

    When we talk to young moms about drug use, we tell them that one of the worst things is to have a baby be born with a birth defect, or to die and to wonder…forever…if the mama’s drug use played into the death. No one can ever say for sure and the mother, who would feel guilty even if it was a natural cause, will have difficulty ever coming to terms with the guilt.

    So I pray there is a definitive answer – for everyone. And if there is not, that we can try to remember that no one ever made a decision to become a drug addict. Those who become addicts start out doing exactly what their friends do – drink a little, smoke some weed… and for addicts, it progresses from there. I wish this woman the best – she has already been punished.

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