Police: Baby born addicted to drugs

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Vanessa M. Cleveland
A Rutherford County grand jury has indicted a 23-year-old mother on multiple charges for allegedly taking drugs while she was pregnant.

Murfreesboro resident Vanessa M. Cleveland, who gave birth to a child in January, was arrested Wednesday at her Bridge Avenue home soon after being indicted on charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment, according to a Murfreesboro Police Department arrest report.

Due to privacy laws, it is unknown how well the baby is recovering from her alleged drug abuse.

Detectives with the Special Victims Unit, a division of the Police Department, presented evidence to the grand jury last week following an investigation that began when the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services was notified about the matter.

“I received a DCS referral from an (investigator) in mid-January,” reported Tommy Roberts, a detective with the Special Victims Unit. “The referral stated that Cleveland had just given birth and that nurses were concerned about the baby’s health.”

Based on evidence collected during the investigation, the newborn reportedly tested positive for opiates, cannabinoids and methadone.

“The baby was suffering from withdrawals and needed medical care for an extended amount of time,” Roberts reported, adding Cleveland, who is originally from Soldotna, Alaska, later told him that she had battled drug addiction prior to becoming pregnant.

“She stated that in the past she had a problem with heroin,” Roberts reported. “She further stated that while she was pregnant she took oxymorphone and methadone.”

According to an online database maintained by the Division of Alaska State Troopers, Cleveland is wanted on two felony warrants for failing to appear in May 2011 before a Homer District Court judge on multiple drug-related charges, one of which involves the use of methadone.

Murfreesboro officials have not publicly discussed whether Cleveland could face extradition back to Alaska.

Since her arrest in Murfreesboro, she has remained in custody at the Rutherford County Adult Detention Center on a $2,500 bond.

A hearing on the most recent charges has been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 19, in Rutherford County Circuit Court.

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Alaska, Child Abuse, Circuit Court, Crime, Drugs, MPD, Murfreesboro, Vanessa Cleveland
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Members Opinions:
February 12, 2013 at 11:48pm
I really could never understand how someone’s addiction could be more powerful than the concern that one should have for their child. I am not one to say if someone is fit to be a parent. I just think that it is unfortunate that Cleveland’s baby had to be a victim of her addiction. It will be interesting to find out if she gets released on bail and if she will try and keep custody of her child. I highly doubt that she will get custody of her child not only because she has an addiction problem but because the condition of the baby was so severe. I would definitely like to see a follow-up article on Cleveland.
February 14, 2013 at 1:12pm
I'm amazed that her bond is only $2,500, especially since she is wanted on two felony warrants in Alaska!!
February 15, 2013 at 12:04pm
It’s understandable that drug addiction is tough to beat, I get that. However once you are planning to have a child, you should go through hell and high waters to become healthy for your sake and for your future family. This woman didn’t want to get better because if she did she would have gone to measures such as rehabilitation to ensure her and her child’s health and safety. The post stated that she battled a previous addiction to heroin!! How in the world can a woman with a known bad drug reputation be fit to take care of a child? Her family, friends and baby’s father should have begun taking precautions once they found out about her pregnancy. Not to forget her monthly visits to the doctor. Her OBG-YN should have been able to notice that there was something wrong with her and her pregnancy. So with her continuing her drug abuse knowingly pregnant, she clearly isn’t fit to be a mother at this time. She didn’t care about her pregnancy because not once did she go to her doctor and say “I have a drug problem that I’m having trouble beating, what can we do to help my baby in any way”, she only cared about her high that she was getting. That fact that her bond is only $2,500 (which with a bail-bondsman is only $250) is ridiculous. SHE SHOULD BE CHARGED TO THE MAXIMUM DEGREE.
February 15, 2013 at 2:13pm
I feel bad for the kid. This is where personal responsibility really matters. If you are wanting to do drugs on your own time, that’s one thing, but to harm a baby’s quality of life for yourself… I know one day she will look back on this and kick herself. I would. It sounds to me like she ran here from her trouble in Alaska. She still couldn’t kick the habits once she ran, and on top of that conceived a child. As cliché it is, “You can’t always run from your problems.” I hope she makes it into a nice rehabilitation facility, recovers, and can raise her child. She really does have a cheap bond. I mean, you would think she just downloaded some music illegally at that price! $2500 is the equivalent of Metallica’s discography being stolen through an illegal downloading software, not damaging a human life. All I can really say is Bless that kid. If that baby makes it and grows up, which I pray for, I hope he becomes whatever he wants out of life. Even if that goal is just to be college professor of mass media… Atleast he would have a small chance.
February 17, 2013 at 11:34am
Oh my god.. I am sending out my friend a prayer because i have known her for years. She has problems like everyother addict. it is something she however CAN overcome. She openly addmitted to her addiction in this paper which says alot instead of her hiding it. Issues are issues... and every addict just needs support from sober and CARING people. she needs help. and instead of oohing and aaahing.. i think people should pray for her and the infant. For this is a matter that AMERICA has an issue with... ALLOVER! this is not just an issue of "oh she doesnt give two shits about her kids." No, this is an issue of the drug problems in America and how there needs to be more HELP and SUPPORT for these addicts suffering.. I am as well a recovering addict. and to see one of my peers suffering, and not only that but a friend that i personally know, is heartbreaking. My heart adn prayers will go out to her that she gets the help that she needs. Vanessa, i know you can do this. it's all about a choice. Sincerely, An Addict in Myself.
April 02, 2013 at 3:12pm
I find it very disturbing that people are still harming innocent children not yet born because of their addictions. It is shocking that their addictions go beyond comparison to when you have life inside of you, because they have no control or choice in that matter to be born into this world fighting for their life. I wonder if the baby did survive because you’re talking about some harsh drugs such as heroin and oxymorphone. Obviously her “past problem with heroin” is still a problem with drugs period. I think that extreme measures should be taken as if she was in attempt of murder. She is already wanted in Alaska so did she flee here into the states and how long was she missing for to have already given birth? I also want to know where $2,500 bond seemed acceptable for a wanted felony and an admitted drug user while pregnant. Her bond should be way more so that she can’t have anyone come in and get her out. Also, she needs to get cleaned (rehabilitated) before she is allowed to see that child in scarce of something going wrong or she not being in the right state of mind.
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