73ºF

HPD: 3-month-old dies after being exposed to cocaine from drug-addicted mom

HOUSTON – A mother with a history of drug addiction has been charged nearly a year after her 3-month-old daughter died from ingesting cocaine, according to Pasadena police.

Churlonda Denice Fletcher was charged with endangering a child. The infant, named Miracle, died Oct. 14, 2014.

According to police, Fletcher said she gave her daughter a bottle and put her to bed around 3:30 a.m. at her Pasadena apartment, and when she checked on her few hours later, the girl was not breathing.

Fletcher immediately called 911, but when paramedics arrived, the baby was already dead.

The medical examiner's office initially ruled the death undetermined, but autopsy results later revealed the infant had cocaine in her system, which caused her death.

Toxicology reports state the baby was exposed to the cocaine at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to her death.  The report further stated that the method of introduction could have come from inhaling secondhand smoke, application to the lips or bottle, or by transfer.

Investigators conducted a hair specimen test for Fletcher, who tested positive for benzylecgonine, cocaine, marijuana and marijuana metabolite, according to documents.  A drug testing expert at the National Screening Center said that, based on the level of drugs found in her body, Fletcher was a chronic, daily user of cocaine and pot.

"I know that they always had too much stuff going in that they were doing," a former neighbor said. "As a mother, I think she should have been paying more attention to the child."

Official charges were filed against the mother Nov. 6. Her bail has been set at $15,000.

Fletcher has been in trouble with the law many times. KPRC 2 found 22 mugshots for the 34-year-old mother with charges that go back to 2000.  They included convictions for theft, possession of a controlled substance, manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, prostitution and resisting arrest.

Child Protective Services said it has a long history with Fletcher. The state agency terminated Fletcher's rights to her son in 1999 and rights to her daughter in 2001 after a spokesperson said both children tested positive for drugs. Both children were adopted out to family members. 

The CPS spokesperson said in 2011 Fletcher's 1-month-old child died. The spokesperson said no trauma was found at the time of death. In October 2015, CPS took custody of Miracle's sister. Relatives are now caring for the little girl.