A York County mother who used narcotic drugs through her pregnancy until her baby died less than two hours after she gave birth in a toilet in 2017 was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday.
Abigail Victoria Madden, 24, of Tega Cay, pleaded guilty to homicide by child abuse in the 2017 death of her son, Connor. The boy was born at Madden’s home around 1:30 p.m. Feb. 1, 2017, and died less than two hours later, prosecutors said.
Conner died from blood loss from a torn umbilical cord and a “huge amount of drugs in his system” after Madden received no prenatal care and used drugs right up until the birth, said Willy Thompson, 16th Circuit deputy solicitor. Madden admitted to police she daily used illegal narcotics and prescription medications she was not prescribed, including heroin, during the pregnancy.
Her actions showed “extreme indifference to human life,” Thompson said.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Herald
“This baby’s death was, tragically inevitable because of her actions,” Thompson said.
Both Connor and Madden tested positive for morphine and several other drugs, Thompson said.
Eddie Black, a S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control pharmacist and law enforcement officer, said the autopsy showed Connor’s drug amounts were far more than even adults should ever have in a bloodstream.
“The lethal combination of drugs caused Connor to die,” Black said in court.
Madden never referred to her dead son by name after he died, Black said.
“She never said his name once,” Black said.
Madden did not speak in court Thursday except to admit she is guilty.
Her lawyer, 16th Circuit Senior Public Defender Phil Smith, said Madden was a bright, kind person who became trapped in the “horrors of addiction” that “spiraled beyond belief.”
“She didn’t wake up one day and say she was going to harm anyone, especially her own child,” Smith said in court.
Madden also was charged with felony child neglect after repeatedly using drugs in front her 2-year-old daughter. That charge and a second child neglect charge concerning Connor were dropped as part of a negotiated plea for the 20-year sentence.
The older child was taken into emergency protective custody the day Connor died in 2017.