3-month-old dies after being put in clothes dryer — (The Times-Picayune)

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The Times-Picayune

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

By Paul Rioux, St. Tammany bureau

Bogalusa mother, 18, booked with first-degree murder of baby

A 3-month-old Bogalusa boy died Monday night after his mother, apparently tired of his crying, put him in a clothes dryer and turned it on for several minutes, authorities said.

Jailand Adams suffered third-degree burns on half his body and blunt-force trauma to his head, causing severe bleeding in his brain, according to results of an autopsy Tuesday afternoon. []

His mother, Lakeisha Adams, 18, was arrested Tuesday and booked with first-degree murder, said Sgt. Darrell Darden of the Bogalusa Police Department. Darden said she admitted killing the infant.

Adams, who authorities suspect may have been suffering from postpartum depression, placed the boy in an electric dryer with a few articles of clothing and turned it on for at least several minutes, Darden said.

“It appears that the reason she did this is because the baby was crying and she was unable to console him,” said St. Tammany Parish Coroner Peter Galvan, whose office conducts autopsies for Washington Parish.

Adams called Bogalusa police Monday about 6:30 p.m. and said someone had killed her son, Darden said. Police arrived to find the infant dead on a couch, he said.

“She initially claimed that she found him dead, but she later admitted that she had killed him,” Darden said. “She remained calm throughout the whole situation and never really showed much emotion.”

Galvan ruled the death a homicide and listed the causes as child abuse, thermal injuries and blunt-force trauma to the head.

Jailand Adams, born Sept. 1, had third-degree burns covering his head, arms and legs but not his torso, which suggests he was partially clothed when placed in the dryer, Galvan said. He said a small amount of blood was found in the dryer.

“It really shocks the conscience to know that someone could subject a 3-month-old to this kind of torture,” he said.

Adams also shared the home at 1501 N. Roosevelt St. with her 1-year-old daughter and grandmother, who was not home Monday, Darden said.

Galvan said neither of the children had signs of any earlier abuse or injuries.

“This child was extremely well-nourished,” he said. “There was no evidence of previous neglect or records of involvement with child-protection services.”

Noting that a bottle of antidepressant medication was found in the home, Galvan said he suspects Adams may have been experiencing postpartum depression, a condition linked to hormonal changes after childbirth. Symptoms include uncontrollable crying, mood swings, exhaustion, feelings of hopelessness and lack of interest in the baby. In extreme cases, mothers sometimes exhibit psychotic behavior toward their children.

“It’s open to speculation why someone would do this to their own child, but this case has all the signs of classic postpartum depression,” Galvan said.

Adams, who has a previous arrest on a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace, was being held in the Washington Parish jail. Bond had not been set Tuesday afternoon.

Her daughter was released into the custody of an aunt, Darden said.

Counseling will be offered to officers who worked the scene.

“It’s easily the worst thing I’ve ever seen as a police officer,” Darden said.

Paul Rioux can be reached at prioux@timespicayune.com or (985) 645-2852.