A Wisconsin woman was handed down a probation sentence and required drug addiction treatment after she got high on crack cocaine and marijuana—and subsequently smothered her infant daughter to death as she slept alongside her earlier this year. The baby is reportedly the second child to die while in the woman’s care.
As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, officials said on February 7, 29-year-old Wanda Pena smoked crack and weed before falling asleep on a couch with her 4-month-old daughter, Janeiris James.
Per a criminal complaint obtained by Fox 6, on February 7 at about 2 a.m., authorities responded to a call regarding Janeiris “not breathing and unresponsive” near 35th and National, located just south of downtown Milwaukee. First responders attempted to save the infant, but to no avail.
According to the complaint, Pena said she held Janeiris, who was “in and out of sleep” as the baby was drinking a bottle. While Pena told officers the infant was placed in a swing once she was asleep, she later changed her story—reportedly confessing that she fell asleep and “woke up to the baby girl between her leg and back portion of the couch.” Pena then dialed 911, officials said.
When an officer looked over Janeiris, he reportedly discovered “a small amount of copper-colored mesh wire” in the victim’s mouth. The wire commonly used to smoke narcotic drugs with, according to authorities.
Pena admitted to officials that she purchased “$20 worth of crack cocaine and $5 worth of marijuana” the night prior, according to an earlier report by the news station. Police said Pena confessed to smoking the drugs at the home soon after making the purchase.
“I (expletive) up because my daughter’s dead all because of me trying to smoke,” Pena told officials, according to the complaint.
Pena was initially charged in February with second-degree reckless homicide, according to online court records. However, she avoided prison time by reaching a plea deal with prosecutors that resulted in a downgraded second-degree reckless endangerment charge. She was sentenced on December 13 to three years of probation and is required to attend a treatment center for seven months in the case.
“Justice was not done and I am very un-pleased,” Lavealea Ball Johnson, the infant’s grandmother, told Fox 6.
Janeiris was apparently the second child to die while in Pena’s care. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the woman’s 4-year-old son, Angel, died in 2015 after “a 146-pound television” toppled down on the boy and killed him. No charges were filed in the case.
[Feature Photo: Wanda Pena/Milwaukee County Police Department]