ST. GEORGE — The mother of a 3-day-old baby has been arrested after allegedly breast feeding her baby while on heroin. The newborn subsequently stopped breathing and was transported to the emergency room before being placed in the neonatal intensive care unit.
At approximately 11:18 a.m. Wednesday, a call was made to 911 from the Chevron gas station located at 927 W. Sunset Blvd. in St. George, regarding a 3-day-old baby who was struggling to breathe and had eventually stopped breathing, according to a probable cause statement filed by St. George Police in support of the arrest.
The newborn was placed on the gas station checkout counter and CPR was in progress when medical personnel arrived at the gas station to transport the baby boy to the emergency room at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, police said.
When officers arrived at the emergency room, they learned the baby, who was born March 4, had a broken clavicle and a hematoma on the back of his head, leading officials to suspect possible child abuse, according to the statement.
After speaking with the baby’s grandmother, officers learned that the baby’s mother, identified as Elizabeth Ola Canon, 29, of St. George, had a difficult time delivering the baby and that the injuries had occurred during the delivery, the report states. Medical records confirmed the grandmother’s account.
Medical records also showed that the baby’s umbilical cord tissue had tested positive for drugs, indicating that Canon had done drugs during her pregnancy, the arresting officer wrote in the sworn statement, adding:
(Records indicate there was) drug use that complicated the pregnancy during the third trimester. A toxicology was conducted on the child, which tested positive for codeine and morphine.
Canon reportedly told police she had suffered a rib injury and had taken Lortab just before the baby was born, the report states.
The baby’s grandmother, who had driven the mother and baby to the gas station, gave consent for officers to look in her vehicle for anything suspicious or something the baby may have choked on when he stopped breathing, police said.
During the search, police allegedly found a syringe containing heroin inside the baby’s diaper bag located in the back seat of the car, according to the statement, and confronted Canon about what they had found.
Canon allegedly admitted to police that she had checked out of the hospital at approximately 11:30 p.m. Tuesday – after the baby was released following a two-day stay in the NICU for opioid dependency – she went to her mother’s residence, police said.
“(Canon) stated that she found an old needle that was loaded with heroin and used the heroin at 12:30 a.m.,” the officer wrote. “… Elizabeth stated she woke up at 3:30 a.m. and breast fed (sic) the baby and he went back to sleep.”
Canon reportedly woke up and breastfed the baby again at 5:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. Wednesday, the report states. A few hours later, the baby began having trouble breathing.
Canon was subsequently arrested and booked into the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed an information in 5th District Court accusing Canon of third-degree felony drug possession, second-degree felony endangerment of a child and class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
As this report publishes, Canon remains in police custody. She is scheduled to appear before Judge Eric A. Ludlow in 5th District Court Monday.
According to Utah Court documents, Canon has an extensive history of drug-related arrests.
Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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