Woman accused of smothering baby while drunk, high waives hearing

Arissa Ward (Dauphin County Prison)

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – A Dauphin County woman has waived a preliminary hearing on charges she was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when rolled over on her 2-month-old son and passed out, smothering the baby to death.

Arissa K. Ward, 23, of Middletown, on Thursday waived charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child to Dauphin County Court.

Ward’s son was found dead Dec. 30 at a home in the 300 block of Lawrence Street. She told investigators she drank alcohol and smoked marijuana before falling asleep with him on a couch, according to the criminal complaint.

An autopsy confirmed the death was “caused by complications of traumatic asphyxia combined with smothering.”

Prosecutors said the baby had marijuana in his system from his mother’s breastmilk.

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