YORK (TNS) — A woman who said her infant daughter was “happy and healthy” put her to bed in only a diaper in a below-freezing camper, under a drug-laced blanket last January on the night she died, police said.
The baby went into cardiac arrest around 5:10 a.m. Jan. 27 in a pop-up camper in Warrington Township, York County, Pennsylvania State Police said.
An affidavit of probable cause said the baby was sleeping in only a dirty diaper on a three-by-four foot bed between her mom, 25-year-old Ashley N. Decker, and Decker’s boyfriend Robert E. McCachren.
Decker said her daughter was only wearing a diaper because she did not have a change of clothes for her. It was 6 degrees that night, and the camper’s only source of heat was a propane heater that emitted carbon monoxide. A blue tarp was the only material covering unsealed openings in the camper that let in cold air, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit said Decker told investigators she and her daughter had been living in the camper multiple days a week since the baby was born in November 2021.
On the night of her death, the baby was sleeping under a suede blanket that later tested positive for cocaine residue, the affidavit said. A baby hat found in the camper had methamphetamine residue, and a onesie and Mickey Mouse pacifier tested positive for heroin, according to the affidavit.
A medical examiner ruled the baby died of hypothermia and methamphetamine toxicity, state police said in the affidavit. The medical examiner was unable to rule out that carbon monoxide poisoning and asphyxia due to her sleep environment contributed to her death.
State police said they found glass vials, marijuana grinders, a razor blade, cut straws and digital scales in the camper. Multiple clean baby outfits and socks, hats and gloves were also in the camper, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit said McCachren admitted to being a meth addict. Decker denied using any illegal narcotics since her daughter was born, but some of her clothing found in the camper tested positive for meth, according to the affidavit.
Decker also tested positive for marijuana and meth consumption, according to the affidavit. McCachren reportedly had amphetamine and meth in his system.
State police have charged Decker with third-degree murder. She is being held without bail in the York County Prison. McCachren is charged with felony child endangerment and had not been arrested as of Friday morning.