Lancaster Co. mom charged after baby dies while sleeping in same bed

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Thursday, September 8, 2016
Jessica Harper

PEACH BOTTOM, Pa. (WPVI) -- A Lancaster County woman is facing criminal charges following the death of her infant son, who suffocated as he slept in a bed with his mother.

28-year-old Jessica Harper is charged with criminal homicide, involuntary manslaughter, and endangering a child.

State police say the 2-month-old boy was found dead on the morning of July 12th at Harper's home in the 2600 block Robert Fulton Highway, Fulton Township.

An autopsy determined the baby's cause of death to be asphyxiation. The death was ruled a homicide.

Authorities say Harper was warned numerous times by multiple medical professionals not to have the baby sleep in bed next to her after another of Harper's children, a 2-month-old, died of asphyxiation in Maryland in 2011 under similar circumstances.

In the Lancaster County case, authorities say a pediatrician warned Harper of the dangers of co-sleeping just six days before the boy died. Harper allegedly responded to those warnings by saying she was "going to do it anyway."

Local social services are now involved in the care of Harper's other children.

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