Centralia Woman Charged After Baby Dies, Tests Positive for Meth

By Natalie Johnson/ njohnson@chronline.com

Nearly two months after the unexplained death of a 3-month-old baby, the child’s mother was charged Thursday in Lewis County Superior Court after a toxicology report discovered methamphetamine in the infant’s blood.

Sabrina L. Sumter, 25, of Centralia, was charged Thursday with endangerment with a controlled substance, domestic violence — a class B felony.

According to court documents, police responded to Sumter’s residence on May 6. Sumter reportedly awoke to find her three-month-old baby was not responsive. Her roommate called 911.

Emergency personnel arrived and attempted to revive the child, who was later pronounced deceased at Providence Centralia Hospital.

According to court documents, Sumter said she noted nothing unusual about the baby in the days leading up to its death. An autopsy showed no obvious cause of death.

A sample of the child’s blood was sent out for a toxicology report, which indicated the presence of methamphetamine. The test results became available Wednesday, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said.

A final report on the child’s cause of death has not been released.

After receiving the toxicology report Wednesday, a detective with the Centralia Police Department contacted Sumter, who allegedly “changed her stories multiple times,” according to court documents.

She was arrested and reportedly admitted that she and other adults smoked methamphetamine in the home with both the baby and her older child present.

Meyer asked that she be held on $50,000 bail based on the facts of the case, despite her lack of criminal history.

“Frankly the state has a concern for community safety,” he said. “ … She has another child who until yesterday was in her custody.”

He said Sumter admitted to continuing to smoke methamphetamine in the house in the presence of the older child after the baby’s death.

Meyer said the child has been removed from her custody by Child Protective Services and law enforcement. A blood test revealed the older child’s blood did not contain evidence of methamphetamine, he said.

Superior Court Judge Andrew Toynbee set bail at $25,000. Sumter’s next court hearing is scheduled for July 6.