Mother from Rogersville is accused of killing baby by rolling on him in bed
A woman from Rogersville is accused of rolling over on her infant son and smothering him in her bed last month. Investigators say Arizona Sallee, 21, used marijuana, Xanax and methamphetamine before the 3-month-old boy’s death. Prosecutors also say she lied about what happened and then tried to hide from officers who sought to arrest her.
Someone called emergency responders to a mobile home at 1939 Peck Hollow Road in Rogersville on Nov. 26. An officer found Sallee holding the baby, which was not breathing. It had blood around his nose, appeared to be stiff, and had no pulse. Paramedics determined the boy was dead and summoned a deputy coroner and detectives to the scene.
A Webster County sheriff’s deputy asked Sallee to show him where the boy was sleeping. She said he was in a small bassinette on top of a vanity. She also told the deputy that she saw the boy alive at 5 a.m. when she changed his diaper. She said he was “fine” at that time, according to the probable cause statement used as the basis of the involuntary manslaughter charge against Sallee. She told the deputy that she believed she had done nothing to cause the death.
A deputy then talked to Sallee and her boyfriend. She again said the baby was fine and laughing at 5 a.m. She said she laid him back in the bassinette and went back to bed. She said she woke up and found him not breathing and called 9-1-1. She also said she performed CPR and noticed “bloody looking stuff” coming from his mouth and nose. She denied he was crying or had to console.
The mother admitted using meth, marijuana and Xanax “in the days prior” to the baby’s death. She denied being under the influence of drugs that morning.
The mother also told the detective that the baby had been staying with a couple in Marshfield up to Nov. 23 and “she had signed over power of attorney to the couple . . . until she could take care of some warrants.” She said the baby had been in the care of the couple since early October.
Sallee told the detective, according to the probable cause statement, that her family wanted her to give up the baby for adoption. She said she was considering giving him to his biological father, who lives in New Jersey. During the interview, the detective wrote, Sallee cried and said “I did not do anything to my baby.”
The upset boyfriend said he went to Springfield about 1 a.m. to get the baby some formula. He fed the baby when he returned and gave him some Tylenol for teething pain. He said the baby was fine and denied he was in bed with him and the mother.
An autopsy found the boy died from asphyxiation. Then Sallee changed her story and said the boy was in bed with them, not in the crib, but said there was nothing around him when he died.
A search of the home found blood on a bed sheet.
Detectives re-interviewed the boyfriend and he admitted the baby was in bed with them when they discovered he was not breathing. He said they were scared to admit it and agreed to lie about it. He admitted the baby was in the mother’s arms when she went to sleep.
Officers later arrested Sallee in a house in Ava where they believed she was hiding from them. She wouldn’t speak to detectives and asked for an attorney.