Two mothers charged in deaths of their babies


Two mothers have been charged with neglect of a dependent in connection with the deaths of their babies while they slept together in separate incidents in recent months.

In both cases, the mothers — Ada Jean Baldwin, 28, and Hailey Joe Martin, 25, both of Seymour — were found to have illegal drugs — methamphetamine, cocaine and/or marijuana — in their systems at the time of their child’s deaths, according to a news release from Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer.

Both women face a Level 6 felony charge of neglect of a dependent that places the child in a situation that endangers their life or health.


Baldwin, who is incarcerated at the Washington County Jail in Salem from a previous arrest for felony theft, was arrested on a Jackson Circuit Court warrant Wednesday.

Martin, arrested on a Jackson Circuit Court warrant early Thursday morning by Seymour police, also faces a Class B misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana.

Baldwin’s arrest stems from an investigation that started when police received a call of an unresponsive child Nov. 20, 2020, in the Freetown area. Jackson County Sheriff’s Department officers Alan Jones and Aaron Wilkins were the first to arrive at the scene. The case was then turned over to Detective J.L. McElfresh, who was assisted by Detective Sgt. Stan Darlage, Detective Mark Holt and Bob Lucas, a crime scene investigator.

The investigation that led to Martin’s arrest began Jan. 18 in Hamilton Township. County Officer Zach Elliott responded to that incident. McElfresh then took over the case and was assisted by Darlage.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant said the deaths of both infants were preventable.

“Please do not co-sleep with your child,” he said.


Autopsies were conducted in both cases, and the pathologist listed the cause and manner of death as either undetermined or as sudden unexplained infant death, Chalfant said.

“Co-sleeping, or sleeping in a bed with a baby, is extremely dangerous,” he said. “Babies do not have the strength to push themselves away from a sleeping adult, and these babies can suffocate.”

Chalfant said both mothers are now facing felony neglect charges due to co-sleeping with their babies.

“Both of these mothers had used illegal drugs,” he said. “Illegal drugs interfere with judgment and can prevent a person from awakening when a baby is struggling next to them.”

Chalfant said both mothers are charged with nonfatal neglect of a dependent because forensic pathologists did not determine the cause of death to have been asphyxiation.

For information about co-sleeping, he recommended people contact the Jackson County Health Department or their family doctor.

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