A white mother has been arrested after she got high on drugs and left her 2-year-old daughter unattended for hours in her car seat, where she somehow fatally injured herself, authorities said.
Deanna J. Joseph, 39, was charged with second-degree child endangerment after she called 911 around 9:45 p.m. from her home on Timberman Road to report that her child was unresponsive, State Police said.
“It appeared the child was confined in a car seat for an extended period of time while the mother was under the influence of drugs, and may have injured herself in the car seat,” Salem County Prosecutor John T. Lenahan said Sunday.
Lenahan said the child had no obvious signs of blunt force trauma and the exact cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner’s office.
Joseph, who was in the vehicle with her daughter, had left the car parked but running, he said. It was a cool night, he said, but Joseph had the heater on.
This is Joseph’s third arrest in nine years on charges related to neglect of a child, according to court records.
Most recently, the savage was convicted in 2014 of cruelty and neglect of a child after authorities reportedly found her unconscious while her son, then an infant, bathed in several inches of water in a South Amboy apartment. She was sentenced to a year in jail and was released a year ago this month, records show.
Police said in 2014 that Joseph was found unresponsive next to spoons and glassine envelopes containing heroin residue, along with a couple of rocks of crack cocaine.
The crackhead was also convicted of cruelty and neglect of a child in 2008 in Superior Court in Burlington County and sentenced to five years probation.
According to a Burlington County Times report at that time, Evesham police arrested her after determining that she left her children, 11 and 2, alone at home. Police made the discovery after they found Joseph under the influence of drugs in a parking lot and took her to a hospital.
After the 2008 arrest, the two children were taken into state custody at least temporarily, according to the Burlington County Times.
Court records show she has also been convicted, over 20 years, on charges from seven separate arrests, including possession of heroin and cocaine and resisting arrest or eluding after being instructed to stop.
If convicted of the second-degree offense, she faces up to 10 years in prison.
It was not clear Sunday whether Joseph was being monitored by the state Department of Children and Families’ Division of Child Protection and Permanency.