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Woman charged with child neglect in infant daughter's drug overdose death in Spring Green
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Woman charged with child neglect in infant daughter's drug overdose death in Spring Green

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A 21-year-old woman has been charged with felony child neglect that resulted in an infant’s death in February 2019 in Spring Green.

Mariah L. Gay, of San Antonio, Texas, faces a maximum prison sentence of 25 years and fines of up to $100,000 for the overdose death of her 13-month-old daughter.

According to the criminal complaint, authorities responded to a Spring Green residence where Gay was living at the time with her infant daughter. Responders found a man at about 4:45 a.m. trying to comfort the infant, who was having trouble breathing. The man told authorities that the child had experienced about 30 seizures in five minutes and had fixed, dilated pupils.

A reddish substance, later identified as Flaming Red Hot Cheetos dust, was on the child’s mouth and fingers, but her skin was otherwise a normal color. Responders checked the infant for injuries but found none. Spring Green Ambulance workers transported the infant to UW Hospital in Madison, meeting Middleton paramedics in Black Earth for a transfer. According to the complaint, the child died before arriving at the hospital.

Autopsy results revealed in March 2019 that the cause of death was “a massive ingestion of Bupropion.” Gay takes Bupropion, which is an anti-depressant medication, according to the complaint.

When the ambulance left, the two residents of the home went down into the basement where Gay lived. The man told authorities he wanted to see if there was something the infant had choked on. They noticed the room was messy, with dirty diapers on the dresser, Cheetos in a pile within the crib and no sheets on the bed. The pair also found 11 pills, which the man put in a bag and took to the hospital.

A detective, who also noted the disarray of the room, later found the bottle and its top, separated, as well as three white pills on a pile of children’s toys and clothing near the bed and the dresser. The pill container was taken to the hospital. Law enforcement found a reddish, sticky substance along the rim that matched the Cheetos residue on the infant.

Gay worked during the nighttime at a local gas station and told officers that she arrived home around 12:30 a.m. At 4:30 a.m., she had gone upstairs to tell the other two that she thought the infant was having a seizure and was seeking advice.

She said that the infant had been able to get out of the crib for about two months by that time. Gay told detectives she had placed her bag, which had her prescriptions in it, on the dresser when she returned home. Gay said she had just watched a film about a child getting into prescriptions and, as a result, was careful with them. She said the child must have gotten to the bag and pulled it to the floor, accessing its contents while she was asleep.

Gay is scheduled for an initial appearance Oct. 21 in Sauk County Circuit Court.

Follow Bridget on Twitter @cookebridget or contact her at 608-745-3513.

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