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Mother charged with killing second baby in co-sleeping death

Mackenzie Katlyn Reed was charged last week after the infant she was co-sleeping with in October died (Wilmington Police Department)
Mackenzie Katlyn Reed was charged last week after the infant she was co-sleeping with in October died (Wilmington Police Department)

A mother in North Carolina has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after the baby sleeping next to her suffocated and died.

Mackenzie Katlyn Reed, 24, was charged on 6 March, after officers were called out to her home in Wilmington on 3 October 2023.

Just after 2.30am that day, officers arrived at the home on the 800 block of Castle Street, where they found an infant who wasn’t breathing.

“First responders were not able to revive the infant and the infant passed away,” the Wilmington Police Department said in a post on Facebook. “During the investigation, it was discovered that the infant’s mother, Mackenzie Reed, was co-sleeping with the infant and during the night she suffocated her child.”

However, this was not the first such incident involving Ms Reed.

In 2022, the department said, she had another child who also died after she was co-sleeping with them.

Now, Ms Reed is charged with felony child abuse serious injury, involuntary manslaughter and child abuse/neglect serious physical injury. She is being held on a $500,000 bond.

“These charges come as a result of an in-depth investigation and hard work by the Wilmington Police Department Special Victims Unit in conjunction with the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office,” WPD said in its post.

The death of a baby while a parent is co-sleeping with them is classed as “accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The latest data for 2020 shows there were 905 such deaths that year, with a steady rise in cases since 1990. In comparison, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has been falling steadily since then.

Co-sleeping does not necessarily mean the parent is sleeping in the same bed, per the definition in Merriam-Webster. It could also mean they are just in the same room or nearby.