Meth Breast Milk: Mom Charged with Murder of Baby

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on August 04, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Maggie Jean Wortman of Eureka, California has been charged with murdering her 6-week-old son via meth breast milk.

In other words, she's been accused of nursing while ingesting methamphetamine, which caused the baby boy to develop breathing problems and subsequently die.

Her older daughter, at 19 months, has also tested positive for the drug.

Wortman tested positive for meth while 6 months pregnant and told authorities that she had smoked the drug while nursing, reports the Times Standard.

Prosecutors believe that she passed the meth on to her son via breast milk, as he was found to have died from methamphetamine toxicity.

Originally charged with involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment, prosecutors this week elevated the charges to murder, though Wortman's defense attorney believes there isn't enough evidence to warrant such a charge.

Is there?

In California, murder requires "malice aforethought," which is either when there is a deliberate intent to kill another; no provocation; or when the circumstances show "an abandoned and malignant heart."

"An abandoned and malignant heart" is another way of saying "reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk of death."

Because of the given circumstances, prosecutors are likely going to claim that Wortman acted with a malignant heart, arguing that she acted recklessly and without care to her son's life by feeding him meth breast milk.

They're certainly going to have some trouble proving this if they can't show that she knew, or should have known, that drugs can be transmitted to children while nursing.

Such proof may be required to show that Maggie Jean Wortman disregarded the possibility that meth breast milk could harm her son.

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