A Pennsylvania mom is facing charges in connection with the death of her daughter after prosecutors say she fell asleep on the infant while high on marijuana.
Kayla Marie Breniser, 27, is charged with felony counts of involuntary manslaughter and endangering a child in the April 14 death of the 1-month-old girl at her Lancaster County home.
According to county prosecutors, Breniser admitted to smoking marijuana throughout her pregnancy and after the baby was born, including hours before caring for the girl on the night she died.
The little girl died of asphyxia while sleeping on a couch where Breniser also fell asleep, prosecutors said.
In a statement released Thursday, district attorney Craig Stedman said his office believes the death was accidental and a result of the mother’s use of marijuana.
Involuntary manslaughter is defined as causing the death of another person as a direct result of an unlawful act in a reckless or grossly negligent manner.
Tests taken the day of the girl’s death indicated levels of the active component of marijuana in Breniser’s system, officials said.
“Whereas there is nothing to indicate the result was intentional,” Stedman said, “the choice to use marijuana while responsible for the life and care of a helpless infant was intentional and the price immeasurable in this case.”
In a police interview, Breniser said smoking marijuana contributed to her falling asleep on the couch while holding the infant.
Stedman said the case should serve as a warning to today’s marijuana users everywhere.
“The marijuana of 2016 is far more potent than it was years ago,” Stedman said. “It causes permanent brain damage to the user and in this case resulted in the senseless and preventable death of an innocent child.”
Lancaster County Detective Larry Martin filed charges. Breniser is free on unsecured bail until her next court appearance; a preliminary hearing is scheduled for November 4.