Prosecution: NH mom's drug use prevented her from being 'decent parent,' led to son's death
CONCORD — A mother's alleged drug use "impaired her ability to be a decent parent," leading to the death of her 2-month-old son, prosecutors said.
Police arrested Bradford Ross, 25, and Kayla Austin, 21, Tuesday on charges of negligent homicide, manslaughter and prohibited conduct in connection with the death of their 2-month-old son in August 2016.
"It is believed that Mr. Ross has been selling methamphetamine. They were cutting it up that night. They were clearly using it that night and the morning of the death of the baby," Prosecutor Tracy Connolly said.
Lt. Sean Ford of the Concord Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division said police found evidence in the "deplorable" trailer showing that Ross and Austin were using and distributing meth, thus exposing the infant to the drug.
"When the investigation began, police heard a lot of information from some people that had been in and out of that apartment and said that her drug use impaired her ability to be a decent parent," Connolly said.
Autopsy results conducted by the Medical Examiner's Office in December showed that the infant had meth in his system, which contributed to his death.
"That is an extremely dangerous drug to have in an adult system nevermind a child – a 2-month-old baby – and that baby is not capable of providing that drug for himself," Ford said.
Ross and Austin's 1½-year-old daughter was also present for the incident, police said. The daughter, who is now 2½, is currently being cared for by Austin's mother under the supervision of DCYF, Ford said.
On Wednesday, a judge sided with the prosecution on each person's bail, setting Ross's bail at $100,000 on each charge concurrently and Austin's bail at $20,000 on each charge concurrently. They have been ordered not to have contact with each other.
Ross and Austin had previously been out on personal recognizance for charges of possession of a controlled drug and endangering the welfare of a child that stemmed from the August 2016 incident, Connolly said.
"(Ross) has been doing deplorable while out on bail," Connolly said.
According to the prosecution, Ross failed to complete various pretrial services that were required with the personal recognizance, including abiding by curfew. He also tested positive for amphetamines during this time, the prosecution added.
The prosecution said they argued for a higher bail for Ross due to his previous offenses.
The defense, who argued for personal recognizance, stated that Ross was made aware that additional charges were forthcoming after speaking with the County Attorney regarding the ongoing investigation.
They also stated that Ross had taken part in various treatment programs for drug addiction.
"(Ross) is going through the loss of his son regardless of the circumstances that led to it. It is a traumatic event," his attorney said.
The prosecution requested a lower bail for Austin because she reportedly did not have a prior record other than the original charges that stemmed from the August 2016 incident.
Ross has a probable cause hearing date set for June 1 and Austin has a hearing scheduled for May 25.
The investigation is ongoing and Concord police have asked anyone with information pertaining to this case to contact Lt. Sean Ford at 603-225-8600 or the Concord Regional Crimeline at 603-226-3100.