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Mom Charged in Baby’s Death Had Been Drinking, Police Say

Mom Charged in Baby’s Death Had Been Drinking, Police Say

By Christopher South

Robert Harkins was employed by the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office when the alleged information took place.

VILLAS – The mother of a 6-month-old son who suffocated last June after falling between a mattress and a wall had been drinking and passed out before the child died, authorities said.

Michelle R. Stanton, 29, of Villas, was charged on May 9 with second-degree reckless manslaughter and child endangerment for the death of her son, Christian Carty.

Police arrested Stanton nearly a year after she went to sleep holding her son in her arms. According to the affidavit of probable cause, 911 dispatch received a call on June 25, 2023, from the infant’s grandfather. He said Stanton had been looking for Christian before he found the baby wedged between the mattress and the wall, unconscious and unresponsive.

The child was transported to Cape Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 3:04 a.m. The affidavit of probable cause said the baby died as the result of mechanical asphyxia due to compression of the torso between the wall and mattress.

Stanton told police she had consumed 12 to 14 airplane-size bottles of alcohol that evening. An airplane-sized bottle, or miniature, typically contains 1.7 ounces of alcohol. A search warrant conducted at Stanton’s home found 99 miniature bottles of various flavors of vodka. She consented to a blood test at the hospital, which revealed a blood alcohol content of .148.

Detectives from the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office went to Stanton’s home and then went to the hospital at approximately 4:30 a.m. At 5:01 a.m. the detectives interviewed Stanton, who told them she fell asleep with Christian in her arms. Her blood was drawn at 7:58 a.m., and at 9:41 p.m. detectives took a formal statement from her at Lower Township Police Department headquarters, where she told them how much alcohol she had consumed.

The Southern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office was notified, and Christian was transported to Shore Medical Center for an autopsy.

The prosecutor, in a press release dated May 9, said a person convicted of a second-degree crime is subject to a prison term of five to 10 years.

Contact the reporter, Christopher South, at csouth@cmcherald.com or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.

Reporter

Christopher South is a reporter for the Cape May County Herald.

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