9 On Your Side Crime Watch
Mother held in infant’s death: I smoked crack before breastfeeding baby
Stacy Banks after rolling over baby: ‘I think she suffocated’
Reporter: Claire Doan
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – A mother breastfed her 8-week old infant right after smoking crack and woke up hours later to find her daughter blue and unconscious.
Court documents show that’s what happened before baby Neveah Banks died at the hospital and her mother – 37-year-old Stacy Anne Banks – was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder.
KGUN9 News obtained a search warrant that detailed what Banks, who said she was a mother of seven children, told detectives on June 13 when they responded to a call about a baby not breathing on the 6600 block of South Downing Avenue.
That’s where Stacy Banks lived with Neveah and at least two other children. Jim Cephus, Neveah’s father who is not married to Banks, told 9 On your Side in an exclusive interview that banks is a good mother.
“I don’t know if she did admit it, but it doesn’t make her a killer. Everybody sleeps with their kids. Bad things happen,” said Cephus said.
However, Banks admitted to doing bad things, according to court documents. She told detectives she smoked crack and breast fed the baby after smoking crack. Hours later, she woke up to find the infant not breathing and thought she rolled over Neveah: “I think she suffocated.” She also stated she had taken two Percocets (painkillers) before going to sleep at 1:30 a.m.
Court documents also state that Banks slept with Neveah and her 1-year-old son on an air mattress that she had to re-inflate with an air pump before going to bed.
However, this isn’t the first time Banks has gone to jail. In fact, there are multiple court cases detailing Banks long history with addiction that was so bad that one of her children tested positive at birth.
Banks told authorities CPS took away three of her children because of her addiction. CPS placed them in foster care, according to the documents, and Banks’ grandparents adopted the two oldest children in 2000. But she never broke free of her addiction. Deputies found drug paraphernalia at her home and said she showed symptoms of using drugs – “twitching and scratching” when they responded to her home.
Still, Cephus said he stands by her side: “I love her and I forgive her because she isn’t a bad person. She’s a good mom.”
Banks also told detectives she took parenting classes, but “was never given information on sleeping arrangements for babies.”
KGUN9 News called and emailed CPS, but they have not provided any information on this case.
Dr. Gregory Hess, the Chief Pima County Medical Examiner, said an autopsy showed no obvious wounds or bruises on Neveah. The office is still waiting for the results on a number of tests to determine the infant’s cause of death.
Data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that hundreds of babies die every year from accidental suffocation. It is the leading cause of death for babies less than 1 year old.