A young mother who allegedly sickened her 7-month-old baby by passing methamphetamine through her breast milk has been arrested and charged with operating a methamphetamine lab, a Class B crime, and violating the conditions of her bail, a Class E crime.
Alyssa Murch, 21, of Bangor made her first court appearance Wednesday afternoon on the new charge and a motion to revoke her bail at the Penobscot Judicial Center by video conference from the Penobscot County Jail.
She denied violating her bail but was not asked to enter a plea on the drug charge because she has not yet been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury.
Murch was arrested Tuesday on a warrant issued by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency for allegedly making methamphetamine at her Davis Road apartment from which she had been evicted but where she was still living. MDEA agents, who were called on Feb. 25 to the apartment complex by Bangor police and the Bangor Housing Authority, found items used to make the drug and residue in several one-liter plastic bottles suspected of containing the drug.
Through Dennis Hamrick, the lawyer of the day at the jail, Murch told the judge that she did not manufacture the drug but that a man who broke into the apartment did. The Bangor Daily News is not naming him because he has not been charged with making methamphetamine at that address.
“She did not call police about this man because she is afraid of him,” Hamrick said.
Murch also said through Hamrick that she recently learned she is pregnant and has not been using drugs since December. Her two other children, including the one taken to the hospital in December, are in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, Hamrick said.
For the first time, Murch claimed through Hamrick that the baby ingested the methamphetamine from the floor of the apartment rather than through her breast milk.
District Court Judge Gregory Campbell on Wednesday ordered that Murch be held without bail until a hearing on the motion to revoke her bail, which was set at $1,000 unsecured, can be held on May 23. He set bail on the new charge at $7,500, which Hamrick argued was too high.
Murch had been free on $1,000 unsecured bail since Feb. 20 when she appeared before District Court Judge Bruce Jordan on three charges: aggravated furnishing of a scheduled drug, a Class B crime, along with endangering the welfare of a child and domestic violence assault, both Class D crimes, in connection with the incident in December.
The conditions of her release included that she not possess drugs, but she was allowed to have supervised visits with her children.
She was not asked to enter pleas to the charges because she had not yet been indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury. She was not indicted in February or March. The grand jury next convenes April 24.
Murch originally was charged after Bangor police detectives were called to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center at about 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 16 for a report that an unconscious child had been brought to the hospital after allegedly ingesting methamphetamine, Sgt. Wade Betters, spokesman for the Bangor Police Department, said in January.
The baby had regained consciousness by the time police arrived, he said. Information about whether the child will recover completely has not been released.
If convicted, Murch faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000 on the drug charges of aggravated furnishing and operating a methamphetamine lab. She faces up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 on the child endangerment and domestic violence assault charges. The bail violation charge is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.