A Minnesota woman is facing manslaughter charges after delivering a premature baby while intoxicated. Rianna Cameron of Rogers, Minnesota told police she went on a whiskey “bender” in the hours leading up the birth of the baby girl.
According to a report on KARE, police arrived at the home of Rianna Cameron on December 30, 2018. When officers entered the home, they found two children under age 3 on the main level. They heard a male voice coming from the upstairs and found a couple in a bedroom.
As the police walked into the room, they found a man on the floor of the room. On the bed, Rianna Cameron laid with a baby still attached to the umbilical cord that was purple and not breathing. The man told police that he attempted CPR on the infant without success.
First responders rushed the infant to the hospital and performed CPR during the ride. Blood work performed at the hospital indicated the baby had a blood-alcohol level of .234. Efforts to save the baby were not successful. The coroner listed the infant’s cause of death as acute ethanol intoxication and complications from unsupported birth.
When officers questioned Rianna Cameron about the hours leading up the birth, she admitted to drinking about a liter of whiskey that day. A search of the home by policed located an empty 1.75 bottle of whiskey. The mother revealed she consumed the alcohol in about two hours. A blood test showed her alcohol level of .21 near the time of birth.
According to prosecutors, Rianna Cameron has a lengthy history of alcohol dependence. She had been warned multiple times about the dangers of drinking while pregnant. Additionally, she has been civilly committed for alcohol abuse three times in the past seven years.
When Cameron was pregnant with one of her other children, she drank during the pregnancy. CPS became involved after a report was made related to prenatal exposure to alcohol. The baby was removed from her care by CPS following the birth.
In the months leading up to the baby’s birth, police had made contact with Rianna Cameron multiple times related to alcohol. In July 2018, she told police that she was in treatment after she was found drinking while pregnant. Then in early December 2018, police warned her again about the dangers of drinking during her pregnancy.
Each time she spoke with the police, Cameron acknowledged that she understood the risks. Additionally, she insisted she was in treatment to deal with her alcoholism. She assured the officers that no harm would come to the child.
Despite the multiple warnings by police, Rianna Cameron continued to drink. She also cared for her other two children under the age of three. Prosecutors say that they are extremely concerned about the children’s welfare because the mother is not currently in a treatment program to address her alcoholism.After months of investigating, prosecutors determined that Rianna Cameron knew the risks and continued to drink. Additionally, they say that she lied about receiving treatment during her pregnancy.
As a result, Hennepin County prosecutors decided to charge her with two counts of manslaughter related to the death of the infant. If convicted on the charges, a court can sentence her to up to ten years in jail.
Interestingly, Minnesota is one of many states that can legally commit pregnant women into drug and alcohol treatment. However, the police nor doctors opted to force the mother into treatment. Instead, they took her word that she was taking steps to get help.
Officers arrested Cameron on July 25 and booked her into Hennepin County Jail. According to Jail records, she was released after posting a $50,000.00 bond. Her first court appearance was on July 26 in Hennepin County district court.
For now, Cameron is free on bond as the state prepares to try her for the baby’s death.
Women suffering from addiction during pregnancy need medical help, not incarceration. Why the family nor doctors committed her into treatment is not known. Sadly, her baby could have survived if she received the help she desperately needed.
Instead, she is facing a decade behind bars for the preventable death of her baby girl.