A 25-year-old Florida mother is facing a charge of manslaughter after the death of her second newborn child.
Police arrested Erin Piche-Pitts on Dec. 20 over the death of her 18-day-old son, the Daily Mail reported.
The child died in October when Piche-Pitts fell asleep while giving him a bottle. After the baby woke up crying, Piche-Pitts took him into her bed and propped him up on a pillow. When she awoke some time later, the baby was unresponsive.
Police decided the child died due to her culpable negligence, resulting in the first degree felony charge.
“This lady doesn’t get it,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told WFLA. “Because of her recklessness and her disregard for the law, her second baby is dead. Neither one of them had to die.”
Judd left no doubt about what he thought an appropriate punishment would be.
"I've seen these cases before," Grady said, according to WTVT. "The first one is a horrible, tragic event in life. The second is a horrible, tragic loss of life of an infant, but she was irresponsible, and as a result, she's got two dead babies. It's time for her to go to prison."
Authorities detained Piche-Pitts in July while pregnant with her son because of possession of methamphetamine. She spent around one month in jail before being released.
She has been arrested on other criminal charges such as theft, fraud and attempted burglary.
In 2009, her 13-day-old daughter died in similar circumstances. Piche-Pitts fell asleep while breastfeeding the baby and woke up later to find her unresponsive. She died of asphyxiation and the post-mortem suggested the most likely cause would have been Piche-Pitts sleeping on the child. However, the death was ruled as an accident.
In charging Piche-Pitts, police also took account of the fact that the 25-year-old received counseling and advice before leaving hospital with her son about the dangers of co-sleeping.
Piche-Pitts’ mother also said she spoke to her daughter about being more careful with her second child.
According to the Academy of Pediatrics, babies should “share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months,” according to WFLA.