Wells County mom facing neglect charges after death of 4-week-old

Crime

WELLS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — A Wells County woman is facing charges following the November death of her 4-week-old daughter.

Crystal Gayle Grace has been charged with Neglect of a Dependent Resulting in Death, a Level 1 Felony, and Neglect of a Dependent, a Level 6 Felony.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Wells Circuit Court, Bluffton Police were called to a home in Bluffton back in November 2020 on a report of an infant not breathing.

Grace told officers that she was watching her two daughters – a 3-year-old and a 4-week-old – when they fell asleep on the couch, the affidavit said. She said she placed the infant next to her on the couch near her other daughter. Around 2 a.m. she woke up to change the 4-week-old girl’s diaper and feed her, and they then fell back asleep on the couch, according to the affidavit.

Early the next morning, Grace’s boyfriend came home and the two found the 4-week-old girl “unresponsive and discolored,” the affidavit said. According to the affidavit, Grace told police that she found her older daughter laying on top of the infant’s head.

Medics took the 4-week-old to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

According to the affidavit, Grace had not taken the infant to any check-ups since she was born. The infant also regularly slept in a carrier.

The Northeast Indiana Forensic Center ruled the 4-week-old’s death an accident. However, a toxicology report showed Grace tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamine and fentanyl just after her daughter’s death, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, this was Grace’s second child to die of asphyxiation. In 2004, her child died of SIDS while in the care of Grace’s husband, also the baby’s father, the affidavit said.

Grace is set to be back in court in April.

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