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'We will charge them': McLennan County Sheriff speaks on rise in infant substance abuse cases

Substance abuse rises
Posted at 6:14 PM, Mar 01, 2024

MCLENNAN COUNTY, Texas — In the past few months, there have been several local cases of infants being exposed to drugs from their mothers.

In November 2023, we told you about a newborn baby — Baby J.J. — who died in his parents care at the New Road Inn. His mother Skylynn Tuerk and father Charles Harris were charged with child endangerment.

Then in December 2023, 24-year-old Nicole Green was arrested after her 7-month-old baby was found dead after sleeping in the same bed as Green. Police searched where she was staying and found evidence of drug packaging and distribution.

And just last month another mother, 19-year-old Jaden Page, was arrested after her 15-month-old son ingested meth, and didn’t get him treatment for 36 hours, which left him paralyzed.

“It makes you heartsick anytime a child, an innocent little child — it’s done nothing wrong," Sheriff McNamara said. "It shortens its life and the damage — some of these children will have permanent brain damage from this meth and dope.”

Sheriff McNamara said since he first began in law enforcement years ago, he’s seen an increase in substance abuse.

“It’s a sad situation, when a mother is pregnant — she knows what she’s doing is going to pass that dope and those narcotics on to that child," Sheriff McNamara said. "That’s a very bad situation."

McNamara said when a child is born, and if they test positive for a controlled substance, the mother can be charged.

“We will charge them, that’s a travesty to put a child in danger like that. Then if the child dies, it escalates up to manslaughter."

All of these cases still have to go through the judicial system — 25 News will follow these cases as they continue.