Glenville woman charged with manslaughter of 2-month-old

Published 1:36 pm Thursday, June 9, 2022

Cause of death ruled as asphyxiation

A Glenville woman is facing felony charges, including manslaughter, in the December 2021 death of her 2-month-old son.

Jocelyn Leslie Pater, 25, has been charged with second degree manslaughter along with additional charges of child endangerment, causing or permitting a child to inject, inhale, be exposed to methamphetamines and fifth degree drug possession.

She made her first court appearance Thursday in Mower County District Court.

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According to the court complaint, the child died on Dec. 17, 2021, four days after he was discovered with no pulse in the 400 block of 27th Street Southwest.

According to the medical examiner’s autopsy report, the infant died due to overlay while co-sleeping with an adult. Just days earlier, on Dec. 14, an MRI showed diffuse anoxic brain injury and a follow-up CT scan on Dec. 16 also showed diffuse anoxic brain injury as well as injuries to the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia and midbrain.

Toxicology results were positive for methamphetamine, though it was unclear whether or not the presence of meth had any contribution to the cause of death.

According to the complaint, police were dispatched to the 400 block of 27th Street Southwest on a report of an infant not breathing and its nose bleeding. When police arrived they discovered the infant lying on the floor in the middle of the living room of the residence.

Pater told police that she fell asleep on the couch with the child and was awoken later by another woman who was hysterical and who had pulled the child away, and how she took her to a neighbor’s residence and called 911. The woman also attempted mouth-to-mouth until police arrived.

The child was then transported to Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin and later flown by Mayo One to Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Officers then spoke to the neighbor, who confirmed that she had seen the child earlier in the afternoon and that he was breathing and alert. However, the neighbor also told police that she believed Pater had been using meth because of her jittery and erratic behavior.

When speaking to the woman who found the child, police learned that she had been helping Pater pack to move and that when she had left the residence earlier, Pater was laying down to take a nap. When she returned she couldn’t get Pater to answer the door.

She entered the residence and discovered the infant’s face in Pater’s chest area and that he was purple and blue.

She told police that Pater had used meth in the past, but believed Pater had been clean.

Another woman, who arrived on the scene, told police when asked that she had witnessed Pater in a laundromat, holding the victim and staring at the wall. The woman said she believed Pater to be “high” and jittery.

An Austin Police Department detective made contact with Pater at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin. She told the detective she didn’t intend to sleep, but stated that she laid down with him because he was hungry and indicated that she had been sleeping for about an hour.

While securing Pater’s apartment, police discovered in a purse a loaded syringe with what appeared to be meth. The detective secured a search warrant for the apartment and eventually discovered a digital scale, three needles in Pater’s bedroom, a meth pipe on the bed near a baby bottle, a bag of .08 grams of meth, a bottle nipple and baby bottles containing liquid.

The bottles and nipple were sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension where the nipple tested positive for meth.

On Dec. 14, 2021, the detective learned from hospital staff that the child presumptively tested positive for narcotics, which Pater confirmed she knew about, but stated she had not used since a week after she got pregnant.

After further questioning and initially turning down a requested urine analysis, Pater became upset, claiming she found some (expletive) in her apartment and relapsed.

She said that she got high the day before at around noon, but that she was sober now. She allegedly said, “My son isn’t going to die because I’m on drugs, that’s not what caused this.”

Pater then agreed to take the urine analysis, saying she knew they had found items in her residence. The detective asked her if she knew what people did when coming down off of meth, “they go to sleep,” but Pater denied she was coming down and that she slept the night before, admitting that she used drugs the day before but not the day of the death.

Eventually, Pater allegedly admitted that she had been using daily and that it started about three weeks prior. The urine analysis tested positive for both amphetamine and methamphetamine.

A review of Pater’s record shows a conviction for fifth-degree drugs on Oct. 16, 2019, in Freeborn County, and she currently has an active warrant out of Iowa for a probation violation.