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Mother charged with murder for toddler's fentanyl death appears in court

Prosecutor: 'It's disheartening. It's infuriating.'
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Posted at 7:24 PM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 20:11:58-04

LUDLOW, Ky. — Lauren Baker, the Ludlow woman facing charges including murder after her 2-year-old son ingested her fentanyl and died, appeared in Kenton County Circuit Court Friday morning.

Ludlow police officers and EMTs responded to a home on Stokesay Street Thursday afternoon for a report of a child not breathing and found Jaxson Baker in respiratory arrest, according to the police report.

He was rushed to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and after staff there tried to save his life, he was pronounced dead of an apparent overdose.

According to the police incident report, 33-year-old Baker told officers she had purchased the fentanyl on Saturday using some of her stimulus money. She then took it to two other people in Ludlow.

On Thursday, she said she “took a shot” of fentanyl and went to sleep. That’s when the boy got into the stash of fentanyl in her purse.

Baker awoke when the boy’s father arrived home to find the contents of purse scattered about and the toddler cold and not breathing.

Later, she gave officers more fentanyl from her purse, and investigators found more of the drug scattered across the bed and empty Narcan packaging inside the home.

"It's disheartening,” said Kenton County Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders. “It's infuriating."

Sanders said simply handling fentanyl can be deadly, even for adults. Made illegally, the synthetic opioid has a heroin-like effect and can be more potent than morphine, according to the CDC.

"He doesn't have to breathe it. He obviously didn't shoot it up, doesn't have to snort it or anything like that. Just handling fentanyl is potent enough,” Sanders said.

Baker is being held without bond in the Kenton County Detention Center on charges of murder, importing fentanyl and trafficking in a controlled substance.

After the recent killings of two other Tri-State children, Nylo Lattimore and James Hutchinson, Sanders said this child's death only adds to that pain.

"Man, we've had a horrible run around here lately in Greater Cincinnati. It's time that everybody take notice and do whatever we have to do. Double down our efforts to protect children,” Sanders said.

Baker is due back in court on March 23. Her two other young children had already been living with other family members and were not at home during the incident. The Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children is conducting an investigation to ensure they're safe.