By Kristy Kepley-Steward
NEWBERRY COUNTY, South Carolina (WLOS) — The parents of a 4-month-old South Carolina baby have been arrested and charged after authorities say toxicology reports showed the infant had “measurable levels of cocaine” in the body.
The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office says on Sunday, May 2, EMS and Rescue responded to Duckbill Road in the Prosperity section of Newberry County for a 4-month-old not breathing and unresponsive. The Infant was transported to Newberry Hospital and was pronounced dead.
During the investigation, toxicology reports showed the infant had measurable levels of cocaine in the body. Further toxicology tests yielded amounts of cocaine in the feeding bottles. As a result of the investigation, both parents submitted to a drug screen, which tested positive for Cocaine, Fentanyl and Marijuana.
Newberry County Coroner Laura Kneece ruled the death a homicide. Forensic Pathologist Dr. Kelly Rose, with Newberry Pathology Group, collected evidence on the scene, and said the infant died due to, “sudden unexpected infant death associated with recent cocaine ingestion.”
The parents, 18-year-old Brady Lynden Wearn and 17-year-old Mary Catherine Bedenbaugh both of Prosperity, SC, were served with warrants for the offense of homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child. Both are being held at the Newberry County Detention Center pending a bond hearing scheduled in the morning on June 24.
“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,” stated Sheriff Foster “This is exactly why we take drug enforcement so seriously. Drug use and abuse are not victimless crimes.”
This case is still under investigation.
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