Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Baby drugger in treatment

Sentencing delayed

 

Lisa Ann Alexander

A Green River woman who admitted to drugging her infant grandchild with Ambien will serve time in prison.

Lisa Ann Alexander recently appeared in the Third District Court of Judge Richard Lavery at a change of plea hearing to felony charges of child abuse, and two counts of distribution to a person under 18.

Under a plea agreement, Alexander pleaded guilty to one count of distribution to a person under 18, the Ambien charge. The other two counts should be dismissed.

Even though Alexander changed her plea, sentencing will not take place until she completes an inpatient treatment program at the Therapeutic Community Center.

"We are not sentencing her until she completes her treatment program because her sentence will vary depending on whether or not she completes the program," Sweetwater County deputy and prosecuting attorney Teresa Thybo said.

Depending on whether or not Alexander completes the program, her sentence on the one count could be 18 months to four years in prison or two to four years in prison.

"We never dismiss counts prior to sentencing," Thybo said.

During the change of plea hearing, Alexander spoke about what happened with her granddaughter.

"My granddaughter was born on the second of August and my daughter -- I thought she was going to be a good mother, and she just didn't -- she just kind of gave up on everything, and so I was pretty much the primary caregiver and she was supposed to be out of school for six weeks," Alexander said.

She said her daughter went back to school after three weeks because her daughter was afraid if she didn't go back to school her boyfriend wouldn't go either. Her daughter was 16 at the time.

In November, the baby developed thrush. Alexander said she couldn't take her to the doctor because of medical conditions she had in getting the baby in the car and taking her out of the car. Alexander said she called her pharmacy to see if there were any over-the-counter medicines her granddaughter could take to get rid of the thrush. There was over-the-counter meds available and Alexander's husband picked them up. She gave her granddaughter the medicine. It helped, but the baby was still upset.

"And I felt really bad for her because she was so miserable, and being under the influence of the opiates I was on, it was getting harder for me to take care of her and I think I was more wanting her to be in comfort, not wanting to harm her. So I would - I cut my - one of my Ambiens up and I just gave her a small piece, but she wouldn't even take it."

Judge Lavery asked her about repeatedly giving the baby Ambien.

"I can't ... trying to go back and remember it's hard for me. I mean I've realized what this addiction did to me and I don't know who that person was," Alexander said.

Alexander is already in the drug program and told Judge Lavery it is going really well. Judge Lavery wished her success in the program and told her he would see her back in court after she completes the program.

According to court documents, on Dec. 6, 2013, a Green River Police officer and a Department of Family Service employee visited a home on Crossbow to check on an infant. They had received a report that a three-and-a-half-month-old infant was being given NyQuil and a prescription pill to help the child sleep. At the time of the call, the baby was being watched by her aunt Carli Chidester and her live-in boyfriend Dwayne Wright. The 16-year-old mother, AC, was at school at the time.

Wright told the officer and DFS employee that he had been babysitting the baby since 7 a.m. on Dec. 16, 2013. He told them AC and Alexander told him how to care for the baby. One of the instructions Wright was told was to give the baby NyQuil if she did not want to sleep. AC gave him a bottle of NyQuil and a small syringe to use to administer 5 milliliters of the medicine.

The officer requested an ambulance and the baby was taken to the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County.

The baby was placed in protective custody upon arrival to the hospital.

A DFS caseworker responded to hospital and noted several concerns regarding the baby's welfare, including being extremely dirty and the diaper had a strong, urine smell.

The baby was groggy, grayish in color and lethargic to the point that she did not even cry with the medical staff inserted a catheter, inserted an intravenous line or when they bathed her, the affidavit states. The infant also had extremely long nails and both her hands and feet, dry skin and a mild diaper rash.

When the baby started to come out of the lethargic state, she appeared starved because of the way she "attacked" the nipple on the bottle of formula. She was admitted into the hospital for dehydration and remained at the hospital for three days.

On Dec. 9, 2013, a GRPD detective visited with AC who said the maternal grandmother, Alexander watches her baby while she is at school, but her maternal aunt was watching her this week because Alexander was sick. When the aunt contacted AC about her baby being fussy, AC allegedly told her to give the child 1/4 of a purple pill that was in the diaper bag. She said the pill was Sominex.

AC told the detective that one night in October, when the baby was about one and a half months, Alexander gave her Ambien to help the baby sleep. The infant slept for seven hours. AC also told the detective that Alexander usually asks everyone to leave the room when she is putting the baby to sleep and suspected it was because she was giving the baby "medicine that's not good for her."

Alexander told the detective, she gave the baby an over-the-counter sleep aid Sominex when the infant was fussy and miserable. Alexander said she would cut the pill into four pieces and would give the baby one. She said she had given the baby Sominex four or five times and AC was aware of it. Alexander said she gave the baby a Sominex on Dec. 3, 2013, and the aunt was babysitting on Dec. 4, 2013. Alexander said she advised the aunt to give the baby one of the Sominex pieces.

 

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