A Baltimore mother has been charged and sentenced to 75 years in prison after she was found guilty of manslaughter and child abuse. The woman had given birth to her baby in the repair bay of an auto repair shop while still addicted to heroin herself. Nine days later and paramedics were called to her house where they found the child dead. The baby showed signs of malnourishment and had blunt force trauma to their head.
Doctors found nothing in the child’s stomach but gastric juices and the injuries sustained were consistent with repeated strikes against a flat surface. Prosecutors say this is consistent with a child that is repeatedly beaten and fed only infrequently throughout their life.
Doctors believe the cause of death was heroin withdrawal, brought on by the drug being in the mother’s system during the pregnancy. Anne Kirsch later admitted to using heroin during her pregnancy and even the night before she went into labour.
By the time paramedics arrived at Sinai hospital Matthew Kirsch Jr had died. Doctors told reporters that the child had likely suffered “severe withdrawal symptoms and physical pain.”
Both the mother and father were tried and found guilty with Matthew Kirsch, the child’s father, pleading guilty to child abuse and neglect. He has been suspended to 25 years in prison with ten years suspended. Meanwhile Anne Kirsch has been sentenced to 75 years with 45 years suspended.
“My heart breaks that this child suffered through nine days of heroin withdrawals, blunt force trauma, and starvation,” said State Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “Both parents had an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of the life they chose to bring into this world.”
Despicable and cruel response to tragedy, Baltimore DA edition.— David Menschel (@davidminpdx) 5 March 2018
Woman is addicted to heroin, fails to properly care for her newborn. Newborn tragically dies. DA gives woman a *75 year sentence with *30 to serve (45 suspended).https://t.co/7O9lrPYtcW
Meanwhile health professionals and legislators have raised concern and expressed alarm over the growing rate of children being born addicted to opiates. They say that as the opiate epidemic soars and more people become addicted to prescription drugs, an increasing number of pregnant women are giving birth to children born with addictions. Some states are reporting rates eight times the national average and it has become such a severe problem that some local governments are suing opiate manufacturers.