Created on Thursday, 01 September 2011 09:43
Lawyers representing a Montgomery County woman accused of suffocating a five-month-old child she was babysitting 19 years ago are asking for bail. 38-year-old Melissa Haskell (pictured here) of Swedesburg is charged with third degree murder in the death of Ryan Baurley at his Upper Merion home. She has been held without bail at the county prison since her august 20 arrest. Her lawyers say she is entitled to bail because she is not charged with a capital crime or one that would put her in prison for life, and she is not a danger to the community. At the time of the infant’s death in 1992, the coroner’s office ruled that it was caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as “crib death.” A review of the original autopsy found bruises on the child’s brain and larynx and an irregular toxicology report indicating the baby had a blood alcohol level of .04 at the time of his death, and intoxication was a contributing factor. Police said they re-opened the case after a concerned citizen told them Haskell had admitted giving the baby whiskey and suffocating him by putting her hand over his mouth because he wouldn’t stop crying, and she admitted it again during electronic surveillance. Her lawyers say the tipster is her ex-husband, and they question his credibility.