Mother pleads guilty after son ingests drugs

Joyce F. Nowell Gannett reporter
Amanda Ann Christian

The mother of a 1-year-old boy who had to be hospitalized with opiates in his system admitted in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas that she had drugs in their Antrim Township home when her son passed out and 911 was called in the early morning hours of Dec. 3, 2019.

Amanda Ann Christian, 26, pleaded guilty last week before Franklin County Judge Angela Krom to three charges filed in connection with the incident. After local treatment, the child was flown to Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he was placed on a breathing ventilator and was listed in critical condition, court papers said.

He went from looking normal to his eyes rolling back in his head,” Christian said in a tearful statement to the court.

Following Wednesday’s court proceeding, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Erica Polcha declined to disclose the current condition of the child.

Christian entered guilty pleas to endangering the welfare of a child, a felony, along with drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Krom set sentencing for Feb. 26.

Similarly charged in the case is Christian’s roommate, Jesse Wayne Daugherty, 25. The pair admitted to police upon their arrest that they were heroin users and had heroin in the home in the 15000 block of Molly Pitcher Highway, also known as U.S. 11.

Daugherty is scheduled for a formal arraignment Feb. 5.

Both Christian and Daugherty have been in the Franklin County Jail on $500,000 bond each.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Christian told authorities multiple conflicting stories about how the child might have gotten drugs in his system.

In court Wednesday, Polcha said, “I’m not sure which story is the actual story.”

Christian told Krom she and her boyfriend had gone to Baltimore for drugs with her son in the car the night before. She said they bought five “scramble” pills, which authorities said is heroin. Christian said she later woke up on the couch in her home to her son pulling on her. She said the pills had fallen out of her pocket onto the floor and there were just four.

Christian was unclear as to whether she or Daugherty had called 911. EMS officials treated the baby on the scene, according to court papers. He was then taken by ambulance to Meritus Medical Center, Hagerstown, in critical condition, the affidavit said. Court records indicated urine tests on the child tested positive for opiates.

Christian was first interviewed by police at Meritus. Daugherty was found in the home unresponsive. He had to be resuscitated by emergency personnel with Narcan after being found near drug paraphernalia, according to court papers.

Daugherty told police during an interview at Waynesboro Hospital, where he was taken, that “he would not be surprised if the child tested positive for heroin due to it being left sitting around,” according to the affidavit.