Cause of death undetermined in infant death

Nicole Lynnette Richards

December 16, 2009 9:03:43 AM PST
The North Carolina Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said Wednesday that it cannot determine the exact cause of an infant's death, and said it may be a case of sudden infant death syndrome.

Police in Apex had charged Nicole Lynnette Richards, 23, of Jacksonville with involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 3-month-old daughter Autumn Rose Naimi on October 11.

Arrest warrant documents said the child died at an apartment at 2326 Reunion Meadows Lane. Police said Richards was visiting a friend at the apartment and had put the child down to sleep.

A 911 call had come from the residence reporting a child in respiratory distress. The child was transported to Wake Medical Trauma Center in Raleigh where she was pronounced dead.

The autopsy report said the infant was born prematurely, and that a twin born at the same time had previously died. It also listed previous medical problems.

"Given the child's age, the history of being found unresponsive after having been put down to sleep and the essentially negative autopsy findings this may represent an instance of sudden infant death syndrome," read a medical examiner's report released Wednesday.

ABC11 contacted prosecutors Wednesday to see if the charge against Richards will now be dropped. We were told they would not comment on a pending case but that they were reviewing the evidence.


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