Criminal Law Mom, grandmother charged after Auburn baby girl takes meth

Published on October 7th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman


Mom, grandmother charged after Auburn baby girl takes meth

An Auburn woman and her mother are behind bars following allegations that they accidentally poisoned the woman’s toddling daughter with methamphetamine.

King County prosecutors contend Patrice J. Tannehill and her mother, Michelle Orndorff, were both smoking meth daily when Tannehill’s 22-month-old managed to ingest some of the drug. The pair is alleged to have waited hours before taking the girl to a hospital.

Writing the court, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Cecelia Gregson faulted both women for failing to get help for the toddler when it was clear she’d been poisoned.

“Despite (the girl’s) suffering obvious physical manifestations from a highly dangerous drug, neither (her) mother nor (her) grandmother bothered to seek emergent medical care for this drug afflicted baby, who according to the defendants stopped breathing several times throughout the night,” Gregson said in charging papers.

Writing the court, an Auburn detective said Orndorff, 45, brought the girl to an Auburn hospital on the afternoon of Sept. 26 and reported the girl had been breathing rapidly since the night before.

Hospital staff noted the girl’s palm had been burned with a cigarette. A second, two-inch-long burn was visible on her wrist, as well as a bruise on her back and a cut on her foot.

The hyperactive girl was running and pacing, and bobbing her head oddly, the detective told the court. A drug test showed she had ingested amphetamines; Orndorff is alleged to have tried to leave the hospital with the girl when she learned of the drug test.

According to charging papers, Orndorff said no one was using drugs at her Auburn home. The detective noted a baggie of meth was later found in the woman’s pocket.

Speaking with investigators, Orndorff claimed her daughter sometimes brought her “drug friends” to the home, the detective told the court. Orndorff then claimed Tannehill and her friends may have been making meth in her home’s garage.

Searching the home, officers found pill containers, glass meth pipes, scales and methamphetamine strewn about, according to charging papers. The detective noted at least one pipe with meth residue was left on the floor, easily accessible to the girl.

Questioned by police, Orndorff claimed the meth, pipes and scales all belonged to her daughter, the detective continued.

A man who’d been at the home when police arrived told officers the girl appeared to have been “drugged,” the detective told the court. The man claimed he emphatically urged Tannehill to take her daughter to the hospital, but did not call for help himself.

Speaking with police, Tannehill, 23, said her daughter was “licking the air” the night before she was hospitalized. According to charging papers, Tannehill said she “felt right off the bat that she had been drugged.”

Rather than getting help for her daughter, Tannehill contacted several friends and asked that they come to the home to check on her daughter, the detective told the court. Tannehill purportedly told police she didn’t want to go to the hospital because she has outstanding warrants.

“Orndorff’s neighbor and several of Tannehill’s friends saw the child on (Sept. 25) and all told Tannehill and Orndorff that the child should be taken to the hospital,” the detective told the court. “Even after realizing that (the girl) was probably exposed to methamphetamine from their reckless lifestyle … Tannehill and Orndorff waited over eight hours to provide medical assistance to the child.”

Police returned to the J Street home on Sept. 27 and arrested Orndorff. Tannehill was booked into King County Jail the same day.

Both women have been charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment, a felony. Each remains jailed on $250,000, and has been barred from having any contact with the child.

If you have been arrested for a Drug Crime the Law Offices of Daniel R. Perlman can help. Please contact a Los Angeles Drug Crimes Attorney today to have your case reviewed.

Source: “Mom, grandmother charged after Auburn baby girl takes meth,” October 7, 2013.

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