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Woman charged in 10-month-old son’s death

Woman charged in 10-month-old son’s death
Woman charged in 10-month-old son’s death

Tina Schmidt, 35, of Corydon was arrested last week after charges were filed of Level 1 felony neglect of a dependent resulting in death and Level 5 felony reckless homicide stemming from the Oct. 29 death of her 10-month-old son.
The range of penalties on a Level 1 felony in Indiana is 20 to 40 years in prison.
‘The cause of death was revealed to be sudden unexplained death of an infant; unsafe sleeping conditions being a contributing factor,’ Harrison County Prosecuting Attorney J. Otto Schalk said in a press conference Friday afternoon. ‘Evidence shows there was at least one or more fully-grown individuals present in the bed, along with numerous blankets. Ms. Schmidt knew that co-sleeping was very dangerous for young children. As four years ago, in the exact same bed, under very similar circumstances, another child that was in her care died of asphyxia, co-sleeping being a contributing factor. Further, the evidence appears that Ms. Schmidt was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time.’
Schalk said he realizes co-sleeping can be a very polarizing issue, but this was a fact-specific set of circumstances. He said Schmidt knew, or should have known, how dangerous her actions were and had previously already acknowledged the dangers of co-sleeping and signed an agreement to not allow co-sleeping again.
Schalk said the probable cause affidavit contains ‘alarming and very concerning’ facts.
The affidavit, compiled by Lt. Nick Smith of the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept., showed that Schmidt said the baby was placed in her bed between her 16- and 13-year-old sons after taking an eight-ounce bottle of baby formula.
‘Baby C.M. was still awake when she put him down with a bed sheet over his face,’ it read. ‘Tina explained that baby C.M. always puts a sheet up against and over his face when he sleeps. Baby C.M. was left on his back in between her two sons. Tina left the room, went outside and smoked some cigarettes (later described as using methamphetamine). Approximately 45 minutes to an hour later, she returned to the bedroom and noticed that baby C.M. was not in the same location she had put him before she left. Tina started removing layers of bedding and located the baby covered by bedding, face up and unresponsive.’
Upon returning to the home later that morning, Smith said he observed that the home ‘appeared unfit for habitation and had no working heat.’
Schmidt led Smith and a deputy coroner to the basement where she and the children sleep.
‘The floors were partially ripped up and concrete was exposed,’ the affidavit said. ‘A door leading outside at the bottom of the stairs had a large gap where cold air could enter into the dwelling.’
The autopsy reported no physical trauma and the cause of death was likely sudden unexplained death of an infant with unsafe sleeping conditions as a contributing factor.
Schmidt is being held in the Harrison County Jail on $100,000 bond.
The report states the baby four years ago died in the same bed due to pulmonary edema and congestion due to an asphyzial event. Co-sleeping with an adult and juvenile was listed as a ‘significant condition.’ The baby was not Schmidt’s biological child but was under her care.
‘This is different than murder,’ Schalk said. ‘We are not saying she intentionally did this.
‘We’re saying her actions were so reckless and she knew, or should have known, how dangerous the situation was,’ he said. ‘That’s what merited the charges.’