Concord mother and father charged in 2016 infant methamphetamine death

  • Bradford Ross and Kayla Austin were arrested and charged May 16, 2017, in the death of their 2-month-old boy. —Courtesy

  • Bradford Ross and Kayla Austin were arrested and charged May 16, 2017, in the death of their 2-month-old boy. —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Police have charged a Concord mother and father in the death of their 2-month-old child, who authorities say ingested methamphetamine in a travel camper where the family lived.

Bradford Ross, 25, and Kayla Austin, 21, each face felony charges of negligent homicide, manslaughter and prohibited conduct in connection with the death of their infant son in Penacook in August 2016.

Police served a warrant Tuesday afternoon to Ross, who is incarcerated at the Merrimack County jail in Boscawen on unrelated charges. Austin was taken into custody at an undisclosed location in Concord.

Concord police Lt. Sean Ford declined to comment on exactly how the child ingested the drug, other than to say the family was in “an extremely small space,” and that the parents “were handling and using methamphetamine in a variety of ways.”

“The baby couldn’t have given it to himself; he was barely 2 months old,” Ford said. “It goes to show that this is not a victimless crime, this drug epidemic we have.”

Authorities responded to the home at 54 Penacook St. on Aug. 1 after receiving a report of an infant who was unconscious and not breathing. While on scene, police said they observed drug paraphernalia inside the camper, and sought a search warrant.

Detectives executed that search warrant Aug. 2 and seized approximately 25 grams of methamphetamine, which police said was packaged in baggies and appeared to be for sale. They also reported finding amphetamine, dextroamphetamine and marijuana, as well as scales, plastic packaging, ledgers and receipts.

Ross and Austin were charged at that time with drug possession and distribution charges. A grand jury indicted them in December on one count each of possession of methamphetamine, possession of amphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, as well as two counts each of endangering the welfare of a child.

In December, Concord police said the investigation into the infant’s death was ongoing, as they awaited toxicology results from an out-of-state forensics lab.

Police said last summer they found no signs of foul play in the camper at 54 Penacook St. However, on Tuesday, they said the infant’s exposure to and ingestion of methamphetamine led to his death.

“The mother and father exposed this child to their drug habit and their drug business,” Ford said. “These people were using and dealing, and they knowingly exposed their child.”

Police said previously that a 2-year-old girl also lived in the camper on the property. Ford confirmed for the first time Tuesday that Austin and Ross are the parents of the child, who was removed from their care in August. He said he could not discuss the child’s whereabouts but said she is in “a much safer place.”

Ross and Austin are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday morning in Concord’s district court.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319, adandrea@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @_ADandrea.)