NJ mom, waitress both charged in death of baby from home remedy
TRENTON – Two women from Palisades Park were arrested Monday in connection with the death in December of an 11-month-old girl, including the child's mother and a 73-year-old accused of giving her a lethal dose of magnesium.
According to the police complaint and affidavit of probable cause, Enma Medina, 38, brought her infant daughter, Genesis Catalan-Medina, to the apartment of Elida Ofelia Medina-Ramos, 73, around 8 a.m. on Dec. 7 because the girl was sick.
Medina-Ramos told investigators she massaged the baby’s stomach and treated her with a liquid substance consisting of magnesium, olive oil and water, administered via oral syringe, to alleviate constipation, according to the affidavit.
At around 8:30 a.m., Palisades Park police responded to a 911 call that reported a child having a medical episode, prosecutors said. She was found unconscious and not breathing, then was taken by ambulance to Hackensack University Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
A toxicology report revealed the child, who was five days from her first birthday, had a high level of magnesium in her system – 22 mg/dL. A report on the National Institutes of Health website says anything over 15 mg/dL can cause a coma and cardiac arrest.
According to the affidavit, Medina-Ramos, a citizen of Guatemala, acknowledged she isn’t licensed to practice medicine in the United States but had been treating children for many years – including Medina’s now 15-year-old son when he was a child.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office said Medina-Ramos, who works as a waitress, was charged with aggravated manslaughter, unauthorized practice of medicine and child endangerment. The aggravated manslaughter accusation is a first-degree charge, while the other two allege third-degree crimes.
Medina, who is unemployed, was charged with child endangerment, a second-degree crime.
Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.