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TPD: Woman admits tainting baby formula and returning it to stores

Posted at 8:10 PM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-13 01:51:24-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Friday, the woman accused of tampering with baby formula -- and returning the containers to several eastside stores -- appeared in court.

Tucson Police say Jennifer LaPlante admitted she mixed other powders into the formula and returned it to stores to get cash.

At least one baby needed hospital treatment when it was served the tainted formula.

In court you can see the stress in Jennifer LaPlante. She spent the night in jail away from her young daughter and her baby boy---because she's accused of endangering children.

Tucson Police say she admitted that for money, she got powdered infant formula that might cost 20 or 30 dollars, replaced it with other powders like sugar or cheap rice cereal and brought it back for a refund. The alleged scheme is outlined in TPD's Interim Criminal Complaint.

When police serve a search warrant, the list of what they collect tell you what they think is significant evidence.  In this case search warrant documents say they collected a mixing bowl with residue inside. They collected rice cereal and sugar consistent with LaPlante’s account of putting sugar and rice cereal in the formula canisters.  Police also collected a glue gun and glue sticks with the potential to reseal a package.

Police say tainted containers of formula were at the following stores:

-Fry's At 22nd And Kolb.

-Fry's At 22nd And Harrison.

-Walmart At Speedway And Kolb 

-Walmart At Broadway And Camino Seco.

Police say bring any suspicious containers to them.

Police were so concerned tainted formula could hurt other children, Police Chief Christopher Magnus held an emergency news conference barely 90 minutes after they collected the evidence.

"I would suggest that wherever parents are purchasing this product they give it an added level of scrutiny in terms of how it looks, anything suspicious about the seal because we can't rule out that there are other locations where this type of activity has gone on."

And Police say Jennifer LaPlante, and others may have been passing tainted baby formula for two months or more.