Prosecutor: Ventnor Woman Gave Infant Methadone, Caused Her Death
A tragic, local story took a another twist Tuesday when an Atlantic County Prosecutor charged a Ventnor woman with causing her infant daughter's death by giving her methadone.
Lisa Scalia, 32, had been facing charges for endangering the welfare of a child after allegedly rolling over on her 7-month-old daughter, Olaia Marie Mejia, in bed while high on drugs on Jan.3. The child was found unresponsive in Scalia's Ventnor home by EMT's. She died four days later.
Scalia was arrested after 34 bags of heroin and 10 oxycodone pills were found in her possession, according to police. Authorities said an investigation revealed Scalia was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.
In a press release Tuesday, prosecutor's say their investigation shows that the infant's death wasn't caused by the sleeping mother rolling over on her daughter, but from giving her child methadone, a narcotic used to reduce withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin.
...The continuing investigation by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and the Ventnor City Police Department resulted in Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton’s authorization to charge Scalia with Aggravated Manslaughter—a crime of the 1st degree.
The State alleges that Scalia did “recklessly cause the death of [the child] under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, specifically by administering methadone, a Schedule II controlled dangerous substance, to [the child] which caused her death while under the clear custody and care of Lisa Scalia.”
Scalia, who has been in the Atlantic County jail since her arrest, now faces aggravated manslaughter charges in the infant's death. If convicted, she faces 10-20 years in prison.