14/08/2014 16:53 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Mum Charged With Murder: Baby Died From Overdose Of Lethal Drugs Contained In Breast Milk

Mum charged with murder: Baby died from overdose of lethal drugs contained in breastmilk

A new mum has been charged with murder after her eight-month-old baby overdosed on lethal drugs contained in her breast milk.

Authorities believe Sarah Ann Stephens, 32, knew she had dangerously high levels of the prescription drugs methadone and Xanax in her system and had been warned not to breastfeed her newborn, Ryder Salmen.

But after originally thinking the baby had died from sudden infant death syndrome in September last year, toxicology tests revealed he had an overdose level of the drugs in his system.

Now his mum, from Sacramento, California, faces charges of second-degree murder and felony child endangerment.

According to the local paper, a pathologist told a detective that 'the drugs were at a level that would have caused an adult addict to be high'.

Court documents said the infant's mother had been warned five months earlier to stop breastfeeding because of high levels of methadone found in her baby's bloodstream.

The test came after Ryder, who was then four months old, was admitted to hospital because he was lethargic.

An inquiry is now underway to establish whether the local authorities acted quickly enough.