Parents booked after Baker County toddler swallows morphine

By Corley Peel - Reporter, Garrett Pelican - Digital executive producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The parents of a Macclenny toddler who ingested morphine pills while the father was looking after the 1-year-old are under arrest, the Baker County Sheriff's Office said Monday.

Paramedics were called to the child's home on Barber Road about 11 a.m. Saturday after the mother returned to find the child under the influence of drugs, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The 1-year-old was taken to Ed Fraser Memorial Hospital for treatment, deputies said. The child has since been released from the hospital.

The Department of Children and Families removed the child from the home and placed him with a relative following his parents' arrests, Sheriff Scotty Rhoden told News4Jax.

"As bad as it is, this one actually turned out well because the child is safe now," Rhoden said.

Deputies learned that the toddler was left with the child's father, 29-year-old Seth Shane Baker, Friday while the mother, 32-year-old Crystal Ann Baker, partied with her boyfriend, who is the father's brother, according to an arrest report.

When the couple returned at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Seth Baker answered the door in a stupor, the arrest report stated. His brother, Jeremy, stated the child was walking around the house clumsily and bumping into furniture.

It was then that the couple noticed the child had a blue substance around his mouth, something his father suggested may have been the resulting of eating morphine pills, according to the report. He said some of the pills he kept in a cigarette pack looked chewed on.

Deputies said the home was filthy and there was a noticeable odor inside. There were also drugs, including pills and methamphetamine, in plain view and within the child's reach, the report stated.

"The living room was in disarray," one deputy wrote in his report. "The conditions could be described as unsanitary at best."

Seth Baker, who initially left the home to avoid arrest for an outstanding restraining order violation, was taken into custody after authorities found him hiding in a camper in the back yard, deputies said.

Deputies later went to the hospital to serve an arrest warrant for theft on the child's mother. They soon found that she had run off and abandoned the child, leaving the toddler in the care of hospital staff.

Crystal Baker was later located at the Red Roof Inn in Macclenny, where deputies said she tried again to escape on foot. They ultimately chased her down and captured her in the motel lobby.

The child's father is charged with child neglect with great bodily harm and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, both felonies, and misdemeanor resisting without violence.

The mother, meanwhile, is charged with resisting without violence.

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