New details emerged on Monday after a New Jersey woman was arrested for child endangerment, after her toddler died inside her car while “mom” was reportedly passed out after getting high.
Authorities arrested Deanna J. Joseph, 39, on Saturday night, after she called 911 and reported she found her 2-year-old daughter unconscious inside her car, parked in the driveway of her Alloway Township home.
“It appeared the child was confined in a car seat for an extended period of time while the mother was under the influence of drugs, and may have injured herself in the car seat,” Salem County Prosecutor John T. Lenahan initially said.
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A medical examiner is still trying to determine the official cause of death, but authorities said the child may have accidentally strangled herself when she got tangled in a seatbelt. They also reported that the child was left alone for around four hours while her mother was passed out after taking heroin.
Court records indicate that Joseph got high on heroin and drove around with her little girl in the backseat. Joseph then reportedly parked the vehicle in the driveway of her home off of Timberland Street and fell asleep inside the car for hours while her daughter was left in the backseat.
Medical responders who arrived on the scene close to 10 p.m. on Saturday night said that the child had already died.
Joseph is charged with second-degree child endangerment.
The incident marks the third time police arrested Jackson for harming her children. In 2014, Joseph was convicted of cruelty and neglect of a child after police found her lying unconscious in her apartment while her then 11-month-old son bathed in water that reached several inches deep. Inside the apartment, authorities found heroin residue crack cocaine rocks in glassine envelopes. A judge sentenced her to jail for the charges. She was released one year ago.
In 2008, police arrested Joseph after they found her 11-year-old and 2-year-old left at home alone.
Joseph could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted on her current charge. She’s being held at the Salem County Correctional Facility in Mannington Township.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Salem County Corrections]