Local News

DA weighing charges after second child smothered

Posted March 25, 2010 12:53 p.m. EDT
Updated March 25, 2010 4:08 p.m. EDT

— A Dunn woman could face criminal charges after she accidentally suffocated two infants in less than four years.

The Harnett County District Attorney's Office is awaiting the findings of a Department of Social Services investigation of Destiny Judd, whose 7-week-old daughter died Dec. 26.

An autopsy report released Wednesday states that Jordan Judd was asphyxiated when she was pinned between her mother and the back of a couch.

Judd, 23, told authorities that she went to sleep with the infant on the couch in her Sawyer Circle apartment. When she awoke, she said, the baby was unresponsive, and she called 911.

Police ruled the death an accident, but Dunn Police Chief B.P. Jones said officers and DSS staff had warned Judd previously against sleeping with young children.

On Oct. 11, 2006, Judd accidentally suffocated her 5-week-old son, Zykeise, when he was trapped behind her on a couch, according to an autopsy report. His death also was ruled an accident.

Harnett County District Attorney Susan Doyle couldn't be reached Thursday for comment.

Judd said Thursday that, when Zykeise died, she had placed the baby on her chest and dozed off. After that, she said, she was terrified it would happen again, and she even told Jordan's father once not to let her fall asleep with the baby in her hands.

Still, she said, no one ever told her that sleeping on a couch with children was dangerous, noting she has always let her children sleep in bed with her.

Judd has two other children, ages 6 and 2.

"I just don't want everybody to think I did anything to intentionally hurt my baby. My kids are all I have," she said as she wiped away tears. "It's killing me because that was my baby."

On Dec. 26, she said, she curled up with Jordan on the couch. The baby was against the back of the couch, and Judd was facing her so the baby wouldn't roll off onto the floor, she said.

"I knew at the time that was the place for her to be," Judd said.

When she awoke, however, she found that she had rolled over, and her back was up against the baby and the back of the couch.

"It hurt me so bad because I lost two of my babies, but I thank God for his grace and mercy," she said.

A neighbor who declined to give her name described Judd as a good mother, saying "her kids always came first."

"I have five kids of my own, and it's a sad situation," she said. "For this to happen twice, things happen."

Police said Judd has been cooperating with the investigation.