Palmetto mom charged in death of baby daughter

cnudi@bradenton.comApril 4, 2013 

MANATEE -- The State Attorney's Office has charged a 30-year-old woman with aggravated manslaughter and neglect in the death of her 6-month-old daughter.

Cherie Matthews, of the 1400 block on Eighth Street in Palmetto, allegedly fell asleep while high on drugs and caused the death of her baby in April 2012, according to a Manatee County Sheriff's Office report.

The child was on the bed with Matthews when she apparently rolled off into a laundry basket of clothes. Matthews' boyfriend came home from looking for work to find his daughter face down in the laundry basket and not breathing.

Manatee County Emergency Medical Services could not revive the child.

Matthews reportedly told the investigators three different stories on how the baby died.

During the investigation, Detective Jason Carey asked Matthews to re-enact how she found the child. She said she put the baby in her crib to take a nap and then fell asleep herself.

The boyfriend initially said he came home and woke Matthews telling her he found the baby lifeless in the crib.

When Matthews and the boyfriend were questioned separately, Carey said their stories did not match and he asked Matthews to tell the truth.

Matthews reportedly then

changed her story, saying she fell asleep with the baby on the bed and woke up to find the child not breathing leaning against a laundry basket on the bed.

Carey reported a mark on the baby's body was inconsistent with the position Matthews said she found the child in.

Carey said Matthews and the boyfriend then admitted the baby was found face down in the laundry basket.

A Child Protective Services report indicated the baby was born addicted to methadone. Two Child Protective Service agreements Matthews signed in January 2012 prohibited her from sleeping in the same bed with the baby.

Matthews is being held in the Manatee County jail on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child without bond.

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