Waynesboro woman did drugs prior to baby being found dead
WAYNESBORO, VA – The case of a Waynesboro woman whose baby was found dead last year concluded Wednesday with a conviction.
Christian P. Haynes, 19, is facing the possibility of 10 years in prison after pleading guilty in Waynesboro Circuit Court to a felony charge of child abuse.
Zayden Haynes, just 7 months old, was found dead March 3, 2018, after his mother neglected to check on him for 15 hours, according to Waynesboro assistant prosecutor Elysse Stolpe.
The baby was placed in a crib with an adult blanket, an adult pillow and had a bottle propped up onto his mouth when Haynes last saw him the night before at 11 p.m., Stolpe said.
The next day at 11 a.m., Haynes heard the baby crying but opted to let him “cry it out, even though she hadn’t checked on him for about 12 hours,” according to Stolpe.
Three hours later, Haynes, 18 years old at the time, woke up shortly after 2 p.m. and posted a selfie online. Five minutes after that a 911 call was placed when the baby was found unresponsive.
Stolpe said Haynes began smoking meth three days prior to the boy’s death, which kept her awake for days. The prosecutor said Haynes was tired and “coming down off that high” when she failed to properly care for her child.
A search of Haynes’ residence revealed there was methamphetamine and marijuana in the home. A smoking device was found near the child’s crib and another one was discovered next to his playpen in another room, Stolpe said. Haynes also admitted to sometimes smoking meth inside a closet in the baby’s room.
Stolpe said a drug screen done at the home by an Augusta County Child Protective Services employee showed Haynes had meth and marijuana in her system.
“This underscores that drugs aren’t just a victimless crime,” Stolpe said. “A child is dead because his mother was too busy getting high and then sleeping it off.”
Stolpe said the Waynesboro Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office considered a more serious homicide charge, but said an autopsy was inconclusive in determining if the baby suffocated to death. “Sudden unexplained infant death associated with unsafe bedding” was listed as the cause of death, according to Stolpe.
Following her guilty plea, Haynes, who has no prior criminal record, was allowed to remain free on bond.
She will be sentenced July 3.