Mother charged after 10-month-old son dies from overdose: police

A 32-year-old Philadelphia woman is facing several charges after officials say she caused the death of her 10-month-old son through exposure to an illicit drug.

On Thursday, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office and Medford Township police announced that 32-year-old Vanessa Hampton, of the Frankford section of Philly, was charged with manslaughter (second degree) and possession of a controlled dangerous substance (third degree).  

According to officials, back in November 2022, officers from the Medford Township Police Department were called to a residence for a report of an unresponsive infant. He was taken to Virtua Hospital in Voorhees and then transferred to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Unfortunately, he failed to regain consciousness and was declared deceased approximately one week later.

An investigation then began. 

An autopsy performed by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death a homicide, concluding that the infant died from drug intoxication after being exposed to Xylazine. 

Xylazine is widely used in veterinary medicine as a sedative, muscle relaxant, and analgesic. It is important to note that, in the United States, it is not approved for human consumption or medical treatment.

The investigation alleges that Hampton was responsible for exposing her child to the drug, which resulted in his death after being ingested.

Hampton was taken into custody last week in Philadelphia and is awaiting extradition to New Jersey. She will be prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Jamie Hutchinson.