Monday, January 14, 2013

Mom held in baby's death: I smoked crack

http://azstarnet.com/news/local/crime/mom-held-in-baby-s-death-i-smoked-crack/article_589febe4-0749-5e41-a0fd-ab6c97c6a787.html

July 19, 2012 12:00 am  •  Veronica M. Cruz Arizona Daily Star

A Tucson woman arrested in the death of her 8-week-old daughter told authorities a few of her other children were taken away by state Child Protective Services in the past.

She also admitted to smoking crack cocaine the night before the infant is believed to have suffocated while sleeping in the same bed with her, according to court documents.

Deputies from the Pima County Sheriff's Department went to a house in the 6600 block of South Downing Avenue about 9:20 a.m. Friday for a report of a child not breathing. The infant, Neveah Banks, was taken to the hospital where she later died.

When detectives asked Stacy Anne Banks what she thought happened to her baby, Banks replied, "I think she suffocated," according to search warrant documents.

Banks told detectives the baby was asleep with her and her year-old son on an air mattress that deflated and that she might have rolled on top of the girl, according to the search warrant.

A relative told investigators the mattress had deflated within the last year and that Banks' year-old child became trapped previously, said an interim complaint filed in Pima County Justice Court.

Banks first told detectives she was a crack addict but had not touched the drug in two years. She later said she had smoked the drug around 8 the night before Neveah died, the search warrant said. She breast-fed the baby after using the drug, the search warrant said.

She also said she took two Percocet pills before going to bed at 1:30 a.m., the warrant said.

While being questioned by detectives, Banks "showed signs and symptoms of drug addiction," and was seen "twitching and scratching her face," the warrant said.

Banks also told detectives that she has seven children and CPS has taken three of them.

She said that although she has taken parenting classes, she did not learn about "sleeping arrangements for infants," the warrant said.

A crib was found next to the air mattress, but Banks said she didn't use it because the baby would cry when she was placed in it.

Banks was booked into Pima County jail on suspicion of second-degree murder.

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at vcruz@azstarnet.com or 573-4224.