A Hanford woman was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree murder after she gave birth to a stillborn baby who tested positive for methamphetamine.
Adora Perez, 29, gave birth about 10 p.m. Saturday at Adventist Health Hanford hospital. About two hours later, medical staff called the coroner and Child Protective Services, which then notified police, according to Adventist officials.
“The attending physician, in his expert opinion, and medical staff, in their expert opinion, stated that death of baby was related to methamphetamine use and to the mother using methamphetamine within the last day or two of the child being born,” Hanford police Sgt. Justin Vallin said.
Perez gave birth at 37 weeks, or full term. The sex of the baby was not released.
Police later served a search warrant at Perez’s home, where family and other witnesses confirmed she used methamphetamine throughout her pregnancy. Perez also confirmed to police that she struggled with substance abuse.
The evidence amounted to enough probable cause for police to arrest Perez, Vallin said.
“We believe the drug use, the fact the baby tested positive for methamphetamine, and amount of methamphetamine ingested by mother and baby, was the direct cause of death of the baby,” Vallin said.
Adventist policy requires nursing staff at any of its birth centers to notify the county coroner’s office of any stillbirth greater than 20 weeks, said Melinda Morales, a spokesperson for Adventist Health in the Central Valley. Hospital staff also notified CPS, which called local police.
Vallin said the case was unusual and no one in the department could think of a similar case in at least 20 years.
“We have cases all the time where CPS (child protective services) is called to the hospital because a live baby was born and tests positive for methamphetamine,” he said, “but we’ve never had a baby born stillborn test positive for methamphetamine.”