Woman charged with murder in baby's death

Police: 3-month-old overdosed on drugs

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Jamie Jones
Jacksonville Sheriff's Office booking photo of Jamie Jones

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Police in Jacksonville have charged a 27-year-old woman with murder in the death of her 3-month-old son in January.

Investigators announced the charge against Jamie Jones on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the medical examiner, Hunter Lawendowski died Jan. 14 from acute drug toxicity. He had high levels of oxycodone, methadone and Alprazolam at time of his death.

According to a police report, Jones submitted a drug test the same day her son died and also tested positive for the same substances.

Police said at about 10 a.m. that day, Jones went to pick up her son from a babysitter at a Northside apartment complex. Investigators said Jones told them she was tired and went to sleep with the baby in the bedroom.

Police said the babysitter checked on them multiple times and at about 6 p.m. noticed that the baby was pale, so she called police.

"She attributed it to a medical condition that the child had, but through the medical examiner's findings, the levels were so high that it had to be ingested," Asst. Chief Chris Butler said.

Toxicology experts said that it wouldn't take very high levels of those substances to be fatal on a small child.

"We all know that these substances interact with each other, and do have additive or synergistic effects and could cause more severe results," Dr. Jessica Rivera said.

Police wouldn't say if the drugs were ingested by the baby through the mother's breast milk or in some other way, but Dr. Aaron Hilliard said that a quick look at the toxicology levels of both could make that determination.

"You would look at the mother's levels to see if they are elevated above the therapeutic dose for oxycodone, methadone and Xanax," Hilliard said. "Then you look at the levels of the child and should be able to tell if there was transfer through breast milk or through accidental ingestion."

Police said Jones did not have a prescription for any of the substances, but they believe that they were hers.

According to documents, the child was born with oxycodone in his system. DCF spokesman John Harrell said he couldn't comment on the specifics of this case, but that DCF can't order drug tests of newborn children but can follow up. He said DCF will only remove a child from a home if it is determined after interviewing those involved that the child is in danger.

This marks the fifth case in northeast Florida since 2010 in which a child 3 years old or younger died of a drug overdose.