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Case of Stillborn Baby Ruled a Homicide

Mother Chelsea Becker is charged with first-degree murder
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2019 8:10 AM CST
Chelsea Cheyenne Becker   (Kings County Sheriff's Office)

(Newser) – A California woman has been charged with the murder of her own baby, a stillborn whose system reportedly showed toxic levels of methamphetamine. Chelsea Cheyenne Becker, 25, was arrested Tuesday after a coroner described the Sept. 10 case as a homicide and police issued a warrant on a charge of first-degree murder, per NBC News. She now sits in Hanford's Kings County Jail with bail set at $5 million in what some see as an injustice. "Charging someone with MURDER for a stillbirth, under any circumstance, is dystopian," tweeted Callie Beusman, an editor at The Cut, who argued "pregnant people with substance abuse issues need support and services," not incarceration. BuzzFeed reports a similar case in California was thrown out in 1992.

But police say this wasn't the first time Becker had used meth while pregnant. Detective Sgt. Justin Vallin tells KGPE that three of Becker's children, aged 4, 3, and 1, were born with meth in their systems and have long been removed from her custody. In the latest case, the stillborn baby had so much meth in his system, more than six times the toxic level, that it's believed Becker "was using almost the entire time that she was pregnant," Vallin said. "Hopefully it's an eye-opener for a lot of women who are struggling and pregnant—scream for help," a cousin of Becker tells KGPE. Becker, who reportedly admitted to using meth a few days before giving birth, pleaded not guilty Wednesday. She has a Nov. 19 court date. (Read more stillborn stories.)

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