Child’s death under review by DHS
By Jeremy Weldon
A media relations spokesperson for the Mississippi Child Protective Services confirmed Monday that a Panola County woman is under investigation after her infant was found dead earlier this month.
Maddie Laws, of 226 Baker Road, called the Panola County Sheriff’s Department in the early morning hours of March 3, reporting that her two-month old infant was not breathing.
Deputies responded to the address, but an ambulance had already left with the infant. Coroner Gracie Grant-Gutledge pronounced the child dead at the hospital and sent the body to Jackson for an autopsy.
Sheriff Dennis Darby said his investigators contacted the Department of Human Services with their findings after interviewing Laws.
Sheriff’s reports indicate Laws originally told deputies the child was sleeping in a crib, but changed her story when investigators observed the crib, noting it was full of other household items.
Laws then told deputies she and another person were sleeping with the baby in the bed and had rolled onto the child during the night, accidently killing the infant.
Darby said because the woman was known to have other children removed from her custody by Child Protective Services (CPS) in the past, the decision was made to contact DHS.
Additionally, Laws is also the subject of another child-custody action undertaken by the Panola County CPS. Today’s edition of The Panolian contains a legal notice placed by the Chancery Clerk, informing Laws of civil action taken against her to legally remove another minor child from her custody.
That petition by CPS is scheduled to be heard May 1 in Chancery Court at the Yalobusha County Courthouse.
Laws has not been charged with any criminal misconduct, but has been informed the child’s death is currently being investigated by State authorities.