Baker City mom charged in son’s co-sleeping death

Manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges have been filed

A file photo of a baby sleeping. (AP)

BAKER CITY, Ore. (AP) – Manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges have been filed against a Baker City woman whose 5-week-old son died in September while the two were co-sleeping.

Court records show Beth Speelman was also charged with possession of methamphetamine. She was arraigned Tuesday and a plea hearing has been set for January 5. Speelman remains behind bars with bail set at more than $200,000.

At least six Baker County babies have died from positional asphyxiation linked to co-sleeping since 2009, though this is the first to result in criminal charges. Generally, arrests in such cases only occur when authorities believe the parent of the child was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Baker City Herald reports that a billboard in town warns parents about the dangers of co-sleeping and free cribs are given to Baker County parents who can’t afford one.