The mother of a 44-day-old baby that died more than two months ago is due to appear in Stanislaus Superior Court today, Wednesday, Feb. 27 to answer to charges of felony child endangerment.
On Tuesday, Feb. 18, Oakdale Police arrested Nicole Leann Todd-Smith, 31, in connection with the Dec. 11 death of her infant daughter. The arrest comes after a toxicology report showed the infant had methamphetamine in its system.
Police worked with the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office in obtaining charges and on Feb. 15 an arrest warrant was issued by Stanislaus Superior Court for Todd-Smith charging felony child endangerment with a $1 million bail.
On Monday, Feb. 18 Oakdale Police contacted Todd-Smith around 9:30 p.m. at the Obsidian Drive address where the incident had occurred. She was arrested without incident.
Police originally believed Todd-Smith had moved from the residence and did not state how they learned she returned.
In a statement, Oakdale Police Sergeant Joe Johnson said that Todd-Smith immediately requested legal representation after she was taken into custody and no further interview of her could be conducted.
The case dates back to mid-December, when emergency crews were summoned to the 100 block of Obsidian Drive for medical assistance on a report of an unresponsive baby. Prior to the arrival of police units, ambulance personnel transported the infant to Oak Valley Hospital, where it was later pronounced deceased.
The initial investigation by the police showed no signs of foul play, injuries to the child, or indicated the cause of death. The mother of the child stated she was asleep and woke up and found the child not breathing.
On Jan. 17 police received the toxicology results which showed “excessive levels of methamphetamine” in the baby’s system. Police are operating on the belief that the methamphetamine was ingested through breast feeding.
During their investigation, police made follow-up appointments to interview Todd-Smith who later failed to show at the police department At the time of the infant’s death, Todd-Smith was married, but not to the baby’s biological father. According to Johnson, the husband who also lived at the residence was not charged in this incident. Since the child died, Todd-Smith could face a term of 25 years to life under California’s felony child endangerment sentencing laws.