MILWAUKEE -- (WITI) -- A 28-year-old mother is facing homicide charges for allegedly getting high on crack cocaine and marijuana, and falling asleep alongside her 4-month-old baby on a couch.
According to a criminal complaint, Milwaukee officials were called to a residence near 35th and National shortly after 2 a.m. on Feb. 7, to investigate a 4-month-old girl who was not breathing and was unresponsive. The Milwaukee Fire Department attempted lifesaving measures to the baby girl but were unsuccessful. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to a criminal complaint, Milwaukee police interviewed the baby’s mother, 28-year-old Wanda Pena, who appeared to be lethargic throughout. Pena said she smoked a blunt while caring for her two children the afternoon of Feb. 6th, and around 7 p.m., bought $20 worth of crack cocaine and $5 worth of marijuana.
Shortly after, Pena stated she went inside the bathroom and smoked a portion of the crack cocaine. She then went and checked on the children, and returned to the bathroom to smoke the remaining crack cocaine and the marijuana.
The criminal complaint states while high, Pena was lying down on a couch, cradling the 4-month-old baby and was “in and out of sleep” while feeding her a bottle. Pena initially claimed she put the baby in a swing once the child fell asleep, but later admitted she woke up to the baby girl between her leg and back portion of the couch. The child was unresponsive. The complaint says Pena immediately called 911.
During an inspection of the baby girl, a detective found a small amount of copper colored mesh wire inside her mouth, which is commonly used to smoke narcotics. Officials say Pena had no explanation for how it got there.
In a second interview, Pena admitted, “I think I did fall asleep on her, but I never meant to hurt her.” She also stated, “I (expletive) up because my daughter’s dead all because of me trying to smoke.”
An autopsy was performed on the child, and a final cause of death is pending toxicology. However, officials say it is important to note suffocation/asphyxiation of a child will often not leave any external physical signs of trauma to the body.