A Thurston County mother was recently charged with three felonies after she admitted to police that she placed a Percocet pill in her 9-month-old daughter's formula bottle, because the baby was "cranky as hell," and would not sleep, court papers state.
Percocet is a narcotic pain reliever that contains oxycodone.
Aliese Marie Gatlin told police that within minutes after she put the drug in her daughter’s formula on Oct. 22, the baby went to sleep, then “started to make gurgling noises and would not wake up,” court papers state.
Gatlin, who was at her home in the 8500 block of Joyce Court in the Yelm area, called 911, but initially made statements to medical professionals that someone else must have drugged her baby, court papers state.
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The baby was flown to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma because she had stopped breathing, court papers state. “The victim was in such a state that the medics had to insert a line directly into the baby’s bone marrow as the baby’s veins were in a state of collapse,” court papers state.
Gatlin, 20, is charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance to a person under 18, a class A felony; third-degree assault of a child, a class C felony; and second-degree criminal mistreatment, also a class C felony. Her arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.
Gatlin is out of custody. She can have no contact with her daughter, or any minor children, as a condition of her release.
Gatlin entered a not guilty plea Tuesday to her initial charges – unlawful distribution of a controlled substance to a person under 18 and third-degree assault of a child.
The third charge, second- degree criminal mistreatment, was filed Wednesday.
Thurston County Sheriff’s Lt. Chris Mealy said Wednesday that the baby was released from the hospital in late October, and was placed in the custody of a relative. The baby turned 1 on Jan. 14.
Gatlin’s court appointed attorney, James Shackleton, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Dominique Jinhong also could not be reached.
According to court papers:
During testing at Mary Bridge Hospital, Gatlin’s baby tested positive for opiates, which could have been derived from the Percocet, and for benzodiazepines, a family of sedatives that includes Xanax.
During an interview with a Thurston County sheriff’s deputy, Gatlin admitted she was heavily involved with drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Gatlin said that the baby’s father was abusive, but had committed suicide in September 2009 by shooting himself in the head.
Gatlin said the days leading up to her daughter’s hospitalization were “foggy.” She “stated she did not think about whether or not the medication was harmful to a baby.” She said she initially lied to hospital officials about someone else possibly drugging the baby, because she wanted “to take the focus off herself.”
She said “as time went on, she tried to come up with different scenarios for how the baby could have come into contact with the medication, including (her) crawling and picking up a Percocet, to someone drugging her while they were riding the bus.”
On Nov. 16, Gatlin gave a taped confession admitting to giving her baby Percocet.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465