East Petersburg mother charged in infant daughter’s death

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EAST PETERSBURG, Pa.–An East Petersburg woman is charged in connection with her infant daughter’s death in April.

Kayla Marie Breniser, 27, is charged with  involuntary manslaughter and endangering a child. The charges stem from  the April 14 death of the month-old girl at Breniser’s Valley Road home, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office.

Breniser admitted to smoking marijuana throughout her pregnancy and after the baby was born, including hours before caring for the girl on the night she died, prosecutors said.

The infant died of asphyxia while sleeping on a couch, where Breniser also fell asleep. A blood test administered that day revealed levels of the active component of marijuana in Breniser’s system, according to prosecutors.

Breniser is free on unsecured bail until her next court appearance; a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4.

“Whereas there is nothing to indicate the result was intentional,” District Attorney Craig Stedman said Thursday, “the choice to use marijuana while responsible for the life and care of a helpless infant was intentional and the price immeasurable in this case.”

In a police interview, Breniser said smoking marijuana contributed to her falling asleep on the couch while holding the infant.

“The marijuana of 2016 is far more potent than it was years ago,” Stedman said. “It causes permanent brain damage to the user and in this case resulted in the senseless and preventable death of an innocent child.”