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Police allege mother’s drug use contributed to infant’s death

By Staff | Jun 23, 2020

MUNCY – Believing a mother’s use of illegal drugs contributed to the death of her 3-month-old daughter, state police have charged a 20-year-old Muncy Creek Township woman with one felony count of endangering the welfare of a child.

On April 19, the day her baby arrived at UPMC Muncy in an unresponsive state and was pronounced dead in the emergency department within an hour, Demsey Mae Long had an assortment of drugs in her system, Trooper Matthew Miller said in an affidavit.

Later that same day, investigators obtained a court order allowing them to obtain Long’s blood toxicity, which revealed that Long, of 181-B Old Glade Run Road, had in her system methamphetamines, amphetamines and marijuana, Miller said.

Long’s sleep deprivation may also have been a contributing factor in her alleged negligence in caring for the infant, Miller implied in an affidavit.

The baby’s biological father reported that his daughter “was a healthy baby” when he handed her over to Long on April 18 after taking care of her for four days, Miller said.

Shortly before getting the baby, Long had texted a friend “I haven’t slept in a good two-and-a-half days,” Miller said in the affidavit.

However, Miller said he believed it was Long’s “continuous course of illegal drug use throughout her pregnancy, and which continued into the baby’s few months of life, that showed an obvious lack of care and neglect, which contributed to the infant’s death.”

During the late morning hours of April 19, Long’s mother, Holly Carey, arrived at the home and found the infant “really, really warm, and hot,” Miller said, quoting Carey in the affidavit.

Carey “related that the bedroom (where the infant was in a bassinet) was ‘too warm, super warm and too hot.'” Miller said. “Carey further related that Long told her there was a blanket over the infant’s head upon discovery.”

Long’s mother told investigators that upon entering the bedroom, she found the baby unresponsive “with a blanket wrapped around her head and neck,” Miller said.

“Carey acknowledged that Long had an addiction to methamphetamines and other drugs in the past,” Miller said, adding that “Carey said the infant was ‘a healthy, happy, beautiful’ baby with no health issues.”

The infant had no pulse when she arrived at the hospital, and an emergency room doctor pronounced her dead shortly after Long arrived at the medical facility, Miller said.

During questioning hours after her daughter’s death, Long initially told investigators at the state police barracks that “she woke up on around 9:30 or 10 a.m. and had ‘a gut feeling’ the baby had suffocated herself so she went to check on her. She explained that she made no contact with anyone, including text messages or phone calls, before or after discovering the baby. She did not call 911. Long explained she did not feel responsible for what happened to the infant,” Miller said.

However, that’s not the story Long’s sister, Jade, who lives next door, told another state trooper. She said she spoke with Long on the phone about 11 a.m. on April 19 and that Long told her the baby was still sleeping, Miller said.

“About 10 minutes later, Long came out of the home screaming,” Miller said the sister told police.

“Both Jade and Long lied to investigators about several details,” Miller added.

Long told investigators that “she discovered the infant with her face covered and began rubbing her back. She related that she felt it in her stomach that as soon as the infant was discovered, that the baby was dead. She claimed the blanket was completely over the infant and that she couldn’t see her at all,” Miller said.

Long told police that “she didn’t mean to fall asleep and that falling (asleep) on the couch was a one-time occurrence for her,” the investigator said, adding that Long said “she had not done methamphetamine since May 2019, and that she smokes weed occasionally, but did not smoke it when she took care of the infant. She said she hadn’t smoked weed for about two weeks,” Miller said.

Miller noted that two hours after the infant’s death, Long texted two friends this message: “My bedroom has stuff. in the cabinet and the jewelry box.” The friends and a third person made their way to Long’s home, but state troopers had secured the property about 20 minutes before the three reached the scene.

When a search warrant was executed at the home, troopers recovered “several pieces of drug paraphernalia and trace amounts of illegal drugs in Long’s bedroom cabinet and jewelry box,” Miller said.

The cause of the baby’s death remains undetermined as investigators are awaiting the results of an autopsy report and toxicology tests, Miller said.

Arraigned before District Judge Jon E. Kemp, Long remains jailed in the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $100,000 bail.